Sunday, March 23, 2014

U-Predict – Should we Use Social Medial to Determine Mental Health? (Air date 3/18/2014)

Researcher’s notes:  Doing U-Predict keeps me on my toes.  I don't want it to be a show about every crazy idea that comes along; listeners and participants don’t want it to be a political recap – though some political predictions are too tempting to pass up.  I feel I've got a good topic when it touches on current events and affects everyone involved – Reading Room or listening audience.  That’s what made this story so perfect.  I felt the first article I read had to be a fluke; no one would really consider reviewing social media posts as a barometer of the poster’s mental health.  I mean we all have the email we want back; the Tweet following a bad day; the defriending after a rant on any topic under the sun.  But someone actually takes these posts seriously?  Then I became shocked – there were many articles written by professionals saying that social media posts might be the best way to peek into the working of people’s minds and determine if they need professional mental health!

The Reading Room for this show included:  Ivy Lieberman, Mary Brown (TarotDactyl) Jean Maurie Puhlman, Camille Kea, and ReeNee Cummins.  We were joined by new reader DivineGoddessEnergy.

So we started by trying to determine if mental illness in society was serious enough to trigger this activity.  Tarot informed us something that most of us already know.  Mental illness is everywhere.  However, in most of society, it is something that is ignored; the behavior is tolerated.  In some cases, the behavior is celebrated – it gives that person “character.”  While reading about this, the Tower appeared, and Jean Maurie interpreted her Tower to mean: “there are problems and they are foolish if they think it’s not, people are narrow about mental health help.”  I totally agreed with her interpretation. 

Since I had a key job in an IT group (corporate webmaster), I reminded everyone that electronic data – emails, web searches, etc. had been used in the past in legal proceedings.  The advice that we gave employees, when I was working, was that you didn’t put anything in electronic writing that you didn’t want presented in a court of law.  Other members of the Reading Room who worked on government contracts had been given the same advice.  There was a mention of the NSA spying on the citizens, but we all agreed that we could do an entire different show on that.

The synchronistic cards we pulled summed up the problem perfectly.  The Fool was the first synchronistic card that we pulled.  One meaning of the fool is stepping off into unknown territory.  We are doing just that.  In fact the Fool is a good card to define the entire dynamic of Social Media.  We have never had the opportunity to gather in a concrete form of the thinking of so many individuals.  People may have had negative, angry thoughts; they may have been love-sick about a neighbor and wrote imaginary love notes encouraging them to run away. But because of lack of understanding and the novelty of the platform people have done unwise things – posting whatever they wanted under the guise of free speech.  No one realizes that while speech is free, there may be a terrible social or professional price one pays for speaking/writing it.

The crux of the problem with this situation can be summed up with The Hierophant.  Again, there are several layers of meaning that can be applied here.  First, there is the stigma in American society about mental illness.  "It happens in other families."  "It is the person sitting next to me – but it is not me or my family."  "It is also easy to cure - there are “meetings” for that."  "More time in church will fix you right up."  Tarot Dactyl’s interpretation was “there's a stalemate”.  Ivy’s interpretation echoed and added:  “this will always be a battle. Taking control of our own mental health helps, but a nation that takes care of its ill of mind will move toward the future.”
What was interesting is that while we were talking about this, Jean Maurie was pulling Angel cards.  We got Michael: “You can be free! Make a courageous choice to change your situation.  Not seeing things clearly” So we need to move beyond The Hierophant and its institutional ideas about mental health.   We need to take responsibility, first for ourselves.  We need to understand signs and symptoms and what are treatment options.

We also keyed off the idea of becoming free and changing our situation.  In other words, now is the time to think before we type or Tweet.  The Rotarians have a code when it comes to sharing information: “1. Is it the truth? 2. Is it fair to all concerned? 3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?"  There are many forms and memes of this basic idea out there, but perhaps it is time to bring them back into fashion.    Considering that our words are gathered, and stored, we may have no choice: have our sanity questioned on a bad day, or we may choose to not participate in cyber-ranting. 

We pulled the 5 and 9 of Swords in synchronicity.  These cards are pretty dark. The five  stands for vanquished or being vanquished, and the nine is about sorrow and worry.  There were underlying cards for these synchronicities, and the message was “using social media as a measure of mental health is a dangerous idea; the untrained may take it upon themselves to interpret messages they see online.”  We also pulled some court cards in the suit of pentacles – this could indicate someone who takes advantage of someone who as going through a bad period in life, and charges a hefty fee for help.  TarotDactyl, who is a media coach, added that “the thing about social media is that we are "broadcasting" and we don't seem to be aware of that.”

The final cards we pulled in synchronicity were the Queen of Cups and Empress.  These cards were all about compassion.  This is the most important message of the cards we pulled today.  We need to have compassion and concern towards all our friends – those online as well as those we meet face to face.  We need to have compassion for ourselves when we are going through bad times.  Perhaps spilling our feelings in cyberspace may not be our best answer; we may need to stand up when we need help and seek it – there are many natural remedies to try as was discussed by the Reading Room.  We also can find resources to recommend to friends when we see them going through hard times.

Jean’s angel card offered us advice no matter what is happening:  “(card pulled - Page of Gabriel) - be energetic, brave, optimistic, and playful - follow your passion.  You are ready for any challenge, opportunities for excitement and adventures.   Oh, and think before you post…


Jean Maurie said...

Love this!