Averting Social Media Burnout In Mental Health Marketing

Staying abreast of breaking and trending news in the field of mental health is a key component of insightful and responsive mental health marketing, and much of that is done through social media. Throughout the day, we’re fielding alerts, following relevant news, and answering never-ending texts, emails, Slack requests and more.

We all know that too much focus on social media can have negative effects on our health and well being, and research confirms that. Most of us are conscious of avoiding overload in our personal lives, and we certainly do our best to limit our kids’ exposure. But how to manage that fine line when being responsive to social media is an integral part of our professional lives as marketers?

This question is an issue of particular importance to those tasked with managing the organization’s social media presence, whether that’s a dedicated, full-time position or (more likely in the real world) one of the myriad responsibilities of one or two marketing employees who may do everything from community outreach to social media to fundraising. Given today’s limited budgets, sometimes marketing directors wear all these hats themselves.

Managing a company’s social media presence means being on the front lines 24/7, fielding all the negative flotsam and jetsam cyberspace serves up — dissatisfied clients, Internet trolls, urgent, time-sensitive requests, and more. Add to that the difficult, sometimes life-or-death, issues we tackle daily in the mental health field and you’ve got a sure-fire recipe for excessive stress, which can cause burnout and depression. 

Because we work in mental health, you’d think we’d be especially aware of the burden a heavy diet of social media can be for ourselves and our employees, but often we’re not until it’s already causing problems. We can start to address it by being mindful of its effects and setting boundaries between work and home life. All employees — yes, even social media managers! — need downtime and vacation during which they can completely unplug from online responsibilities. Your center can be highly accessible and responsive online without overburdening one employee around the clock.

Be proactive in helping employees manage social media stress and burnout before it happens. Experts say this can be as simple as checking in with your social media manager about how things are going, providing outlets for employees to vent and problem solve, ensuring they have the resources and training they need, encouraging time off and providing coverage during their downtime. Help them be intentional about managing stress, through such time-honored (and effective) methods as exercise or meditation breaks. With mental health resources there at your fingertips, don’t forget to make these services available to employees and develop a culture that encourages them to ask for help when they need it.

And above all, practice what you’re preaching! Lead by example so employees feel empowered to practice self-care and to disconnect when away from the office. Set boundaries on after-hours expectations and honor them – schedule that email to drop first thing in the morning instead of dinging employees’ inboxes at 10 p.m., and refrain from texting a co-worker with a “quick question” over dinner. Setting limits and being intentional about your work-related social media engagement will pay mental health dividends not only for your employees, but for your own well being!

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