Hashtags are the cornerstones of the social media realm. It helps users track trends and contribute to conversations and guide discussion across the different platforms. The symbol made it easy for anyone to signal keywords and create an ongoing dialogue. There are some incredibly amusing hashtags, and new ones appear daily almost instantaneously with current events. But there is one hashtag with an alarming following.
#Sue might seem like an innocent hashtag, but in fact, this one and many others represent mental health issues and eating disorders and are used by teenagers looking to band together through personal stories on Instagram.
The million-plus posts, which can be found when searching #Sue short for suicide, include distressing posts of young girls with thoughts of suicide and others who suffer from depression, anorexia, and bulimia. By personifying their illnesses, the young ladies seem to band together while validating and glorifying their conditions in the process. These young women are finding a sense of community. Suddenly, being at odds with the world becomes revered. In their minds, the teens are not sick, but in fact, special.
Late last year, images of the word “angel” written on the wrists of “Sues” became prevalent. One wishing to remain anonymous said, “In our eyes, everyone who commits suicide becomes an angel. If your whole life was spent in hell, you belong in heaven. We envy those girls for having the courage to do what we all want to do, but we also respect them for bearing so many years before ending it all.”
Social media has captivated many including these teens looking for a sense of self in this community. If you know anyone struggling with depression or any other mental illness, encourage them to get help.
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