How Cancel Culture Affects Mental Health by David Lee Chu Sarchet

In these contemporary times, so-called Cancel culture is becoming increasingly more and more popular. What exactly is Cancel culture, you ask? According to Wikipedia:

Cancel culture or call-out culture is a contemporary phrase used to refer to a form of ostracism in which someone is thrust out of social or professional circles – whether it be online, on social media or in person. Those subject to this ostracism are said to have been ‘cancelled’. 

We all know about the physical effects that this sort of behavior can wreak in a victim’s life. But very few people are aware of the mental affects that this movement can have.

In this blog, I will be discussing some of the ways Cancel Culture negatively affects one’s mental health.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list and the things I will be mentioning are just my own thoughts. However, as someone who studies psychology and is somewhat knowledgeable about human behavior, I think I am able to make some credible observations concerning this issue.

I will say that I do not support Cancel Culture whatsoever. I see this movement as being harmful to society in general.

Some of the ways this movement harms mental health are:

  • 1) It isolates people of differing opinions
  • 2) It causes division within society
  • 3) It shames its victims
  • 4) It turns villains into heroes.

In the following paragraphs I will be elaborating on each of these points.

Isolates People Of Different Opinions

This movement has been known for painting a target onto people who express unfavorable opinions in public. The reason this is bad is because as soon as someone has this target, they are then mistreated by society. According to every psychological study I have seen, human beings are social creatures. This means we innately desire to be accepted by our society. So, when the society is rejecting us because of our unfavorable opinion then that has a deep impact on our self-worth.

Instead, we should encourage the exercise of free speech and allow people to express their ideas without fear of reprisal. This in turn will give people more confidence to be themselves in public and in turn they will be productive citizens in society. 

Division within Society

This is an important point too, because as I stated earlier we are social creatures and this means we desire community. Cancel culture creates an atmosphere where people no longer trust one another and where there is no trust there is no community or relationships. When people are too afraid to be themselves and express themselves in ways they desire then they will refuse to engage with other people. This in turn will break down society because community is based on relationships so without relationships there is nothing. 

Shaming the victim

This is especially insidious because it has the potential to literally kill people.

What Cancel Culture inevitably does when they go after people unfairly is that they cause these very people to retreat into themselves. When our defenses are up, we tend to go into one of two stances: fight or flight.

If someone decides to fight then when someone attacks their character that person will attack back. If the person decides to take flight then when their character is attacked they may retreat. Both cases are equally unhealthy and they both will result in the person’s sense of shame being compounded on itself. If shame continues to build up without any healthy way to let it out then it could result in someone becoming increasingly depressed and at that point they need to be hospitalized no matter what. It would be highly unloving of someone to keep this person outside unless they were a licensed caregiver. Their depression often can lead to suicidal thoughts too. 

Turn Villains into Heroes 

I have noticed that this movement does have a tendency to cause people to believe that they are innocent when they are really guilty. I call these types of people “toxic” so I would recommend to people to not have any kind of association with them.

Cancel Culture allows these people to pretend like they are the victims while they are actually the ones who are the perpetrators.

I think of this current court case going on with Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. Depp is obviously the victim but Cancel Culture is allowing Amber to be portrayed as the victim instead. The case is a sad testament to why we should not always “believe all women” and how that mentality has led to so many innocent lives being destroyed.

Finally, Cancel Culture puffs up the people it is pretending to “protect” while demonizing the people they are attacking. The unfortunate result of this is the people who they are “protecting” think they then can get away with literally anything while the people they are attacking feel like they are powerless to defend themselves. 

Conclusion

I hope that this blog has really given you an idea why Cancel Culture is detrimental to mental health and why we as a society need to reject this movement. The stability of our society depends on us rejecting this harmful ideology. People should be able to express themselves any way they want to as long as they aren’t calling for violence on people.

I thank you for reading my blog and may the grace of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ richly bless you all! 

 -David Lee Chu 

 Christian Mental Health Advocate

For 24 hour peer support, please call the Christ-Centered Mental Health ministry line at 567-343-3727 or email me at christmentalhealth@gmail.com

  • Lydia Sarchet: mrssccmh@gmail.com
  • Britton Garleb: britaingabriel@protonmail.com
  • Joe Roman: Twiztedmembrain@gmail.com
  • Scott AKA Johnny Kangaroo: scottsoconmhs@outlook.com
  • Dwayne McLeod: psyconatics@gmail.com
  • Veronica Talbot: vtalbot747@gmail.com
  • Amber Williams: shayneedm18@gmail.com
  • Chuck Ward: wcw50@aol.com
  • Sarah Olivia: sarahjesseolivia@gmail.com
  • Amber Marie: amarie0193@gmail.com
  • Zachary Uram: Netrek@gmail.com 
  • Joseph McDermott: jpmlovesjesus@live.com
  • Roselyn Morgan  (Christian Counselor): RoselynMorgan53@yahoo.com 

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