“You are Not Alone”: Linking Peer Support to Information and Resources for Mental Health Concerns in Advocacy Groups’ Social Media Messaging

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Health Communication


© 2020 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. The pervasive stigmatization of mental health concerns has caused a public health crisis in the United States, as it prevents individuals from seeking treatment for such concerns. Grassroots mental health advocacy groups working to mitigate this stigma and promote treatment largely do so through social media messaging strategies to provide audiences with information, resources, and peer support. Yet, scholars have not fully explicated what constitutes information, resources, or support. Further, little is known about mental health advocacy groups’ goals for and perceived effectiveness of these strategies or how audience members understand these messaging strategies. By employing a case study approach with two grassroots mental health advocacy groups, this study provides a nuanced understanding of the strategies involved in providing information, resources, and peer support in social media messaging. This study also demonstrates that both content creators and audience members agree on the importance of linking support strategies–specifically peer support–with information and resources to achieve the organizations’ primary goals. Theoretical and practical implications for the strategies used by both organizations are discussed.

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