“Finding some type of community to be a part of has been vital for people’s mental health survival and for their physical well-being during the pandemic,” said Janina Scarlet, a clinical psychologist who uses Superhero Therapy, evidence-based therapy that incorporates characters from pop culture to treat anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
There’s also no right way to become a fan. Sometimes it’s love at first sight, sometimes it’s a slow burn, and sometimes you’re born into it. No one fandom activity — fanfiction, cosplay, fan art, fan videos, stan accounts, conventions — matters more than another. All that matters is “you engage with it because of your emotional attachment,” said Paul Booth, a professor of communication at DePaul University. Throughout social distancing, many people are experienced the benefits of fandom.