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People Say This Twitter Hashtag Makes Light of Mental Health and Trauma

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Some people in the mental health community are taking issue with a Twitter hashtag that began trending on Thursday. Twitter users (and the official Twitter account) are using describe things that upset or frustrate them.

Though the word “trigger” has classically referred to a mental health or trauma-related response, in recent years, the word “trigger” has been used interchangeably with “oversensitivity,” in both political and non-political contexts.

Some Twitter users believe the hashtag makes light of what it’s actually like to be triggered. One user shared an image calling for people to stop using the word triggered because it “diminishes trauma survivors who experience triggers.”

This isn’t the first time people have debated the use of the word “trigger” in non-mental health or trauma contexts. In his piece, “We Need to Stop Misusing the Word ‘Triggered,’” Mighty contributor Ross Hill wrote about the damage it can do:

In the new colloquial sense, being “triggered” means a relatively minor thing, akin to being upset or sad or disgusted. When used as an insult, it’s meant to be synonymous with being weak, sensitive or easily upset. But being actually triggered in the mental health sense is very serious and can have devastating effects on people’s lives. Is it funny to see a soldier with PTSD get triggered? How funny would it be to watch someone dissociate and be trapped in a flashback? Or to see them be overwhelmed by emotion and need a large amount of time and coping skills to come down and feel normal? How hilarious. Not.

No matter what your view on the hashtag is, it’s important to engage in these discussions with respect for people with lived experiences and different sensitivities.

What’s your take?

Screenshot via Twitter

Originally published: January 18, 2019
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