The Right to Vote

usa-1149896_1280Politics have become a part of everyday conversation, as naturally brought up as the weather or celebrity gossip. The is especially true for the latter, as politics are almost one in the same with celebrity news. After 2016, the amount of activism and speaking up from entertainers has significantly increased, especially so in the last few weeks. If you were scrolling on your feeds this Tuesday, you may have noticed a few posts and stories about how it was National Voter Registration Day, and while anyone can register whenever, so long as it’s before the deadline, Tuesday specifically was meant to raise awareness on the topic.

Social media is one of the most accessible resources when it comes to learning about the issues (of course, like all resources, it’s important to be aware of biases), and these websites have become increasingly aware of it, particularly since this is such an important election year. Tuesday had Snapchat begin to feature a link to vote on profiles (if you’re over 18), a voter registration filter, and a story about elections that can have people register if they swipe up. Sports teams that have their own apps now have an option to direct users to register to vote, and Twitter began their own campaign on Tuesday with a prompt to encourage users to register.

elections-536656_640And as the discussion about mental health has increased, so has its role in elections. There’s the obvious toll that elections can take on one’s mental health. The 2016 election nearly two years ago caused a phenomenon known as “Post-Election Stress Disorder” due to the stressful environment. There was an increase in primary care visits in the weeks before and after November 8th for depression, and anxiety increased due to a number of reasons. This ranged from the fear of voicing their opinions and arguing, to the worry of what would happen to their everyday lives depending on who was elected.

However, elections can have a direct impact on how mental health is treated. Several states either have ballots addressing mental health treatment and determining whether they should fund programs, or candidates who run on a platform to make treatment more accessible.

These are all things to keep in mind as you scroll through your feeds and encounter the increase of posts urging for a stronger voting turnout, especially in young voters. If you’re at least 18, haven’t registered, or want to learn more, you can do so at:
https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/
https://www.eighteenx18.com/


If you’re at least 18, have you registered to vote? How do you think the elections play a role in mental health? How do you feel about celebrities using social media to raise awareness about voting? If you’re under 18, what do you think you can do to help raise registration awareness?

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Hi! The moderator is a research team member with a background in behavioral health. We're here to help answer your questions and stimulate some great conversation! We don't provide therapy and are not available 24-7 so please if you are in crisis, go to our crisis page: https://sova.pitt.edu/i-need-help-now We look forward to talking to you!

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