The pandemic has brought about multiple online communities that serve as a safe space for like-minded individuals. Despite the lack of social interaction, people have become more interconnected through virtual spaces, which have become a place of reflection and consolation.
Since the start of the pandemic, social isolation has been recognized as one of the crucial triggers for mental illness. The lack of company and social interaction has contributed to an increase in depression throughout society and a surge of loneliness in communities.
To find solace amidst the pandemic, virtual communities were created—online spaces where like-minded individuals band together. As a result, online communities have become a lifeline for people, instilling feelings of happiness and belongingness.
Some of the benefits of joining an online community include:
1. Understanding - Hearing stories of what others went through and how they coped can be comforting in knowing that you’re not alone
2. Empowerment - Access to information and support, along with active participation, can give a sense of empowerment
3. Convenience - Getting support is easier and more accessible vs. going to an office or an actual space
4. Relief - Being able to speak freely, openly, and honestly can bring a sense of relief
5. Support - Receive support from peers and professionals
Research has shown that people participating in virtual support groups have experienced a reduction in their mental health symptoms. Additionally, online communities also build self-confidence and promote the pursuit of seeking professional support.
To read more about the positive impacts of an online community, read the studies below.