Social media has become a powerful tool for helping break the stigma around mental health. But now Instagram is taking things one step further by launching a campaign to make sure those who are struggling know that they are not alone.
The social media platform launched #HereForYou on Monday to not only bring awareness to mental health issues, but to highlight people in the Instagram community who are helping others by sharing their mental health stories.
“People come to Instagram to tell their stories in a visual, and through an image they're able to communicate how they're feeling, what they're doing,” Instagram's Chief Operating Officer Marne Levine told ABC News. “So what we decided to do is to create a video campaign highlighting these communities of support that exist in Instagram.”
The campaign features three individuals who have built positive communities of support on Instagram for those struggling with mental illness. Instagrammer Elyse Fox, who suffers from depression, is one of them.
What a Monday morning treat🏆 Thank you so much @instagram for spotlighting my newest initiative @sadgirlsclubpbg as part of the #HereForYou campaign. As someone who has personally struggled through abusive relationships depression and more, I'm extremely passionate about encouraging openness and igniting the conversation of mental health to millennials & generation Z. Also check out Instagrams story as I takeover and share tips on how you can show someone you're there for them🌺🌸🌹🌻💐
“I knew that something was off, but I didn’t want to speak about it because I didn’t want to feel like an outcast,” the 27-year-old says in the campaign video. “Through Instagram I was able to connect with other girls who were going through similar things. My main thing is to bring girls together and to let the girls know that they’re not alone.”
Instagram users have often used the platform to highlight their mental health journeys and to let others know that mental illness can affect anyone at any age at any time.
Besides the hashtag #HereForYou, users have been using positive tags such as #ItsOkayToTalk, #RecoveryIsPossible, #EndTheStigma and #SelfLoveClub to connect with others struggling with mental health.
"She doesn't look like she's depressed" "But she still goes to work and functions how could she be mentally ill" "I had no idea she was sick, she was smiling and laughing" "She looked so put together though" Any of you ever heard things like that? Mental illness is not a look, body type, facial expression, or just one mood. Its not something that just shows up for an hour of your day while you cry your eyes out and then it goes away so that you can get on with your life. It stays with you whether you have makeup on and a fancy outfit, or you haven't showered in 4 days and you're wearing sweats. Whether you're laughing with your friends or in bed alone crying. Stop assuming that people are okay just by looking at them. ASK QUESTIONS, that's the only way you'll ever know. Don't let something go unnoticed just because someone seems like they are doing great. 1 in 4 people struggle with mental illness and a lot of those people go untreated. Mental illness can happen to anyone and they don't have to have "a reason". • Post inspired by @selfloveliv ❤️❤️ - @mindovermads_ #HereForYou
So all of you know that I'm a sarcastic smartass but what you might not know is that I'm also crazy. Oops, I mean I also have a Masters Degree in Marriage & Family Therapy (as made obvious by the tie I'm wearing in this dream-like photo of me 👔) and the topic of mental health is incredibly important to me. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and almost exactly like our physical health, mental health requires hard work, repair, and maintenance. Every single person deals with mental health issues and it's imperative that we all remember that it's okay to struggle in life. It takes a strong person to tackle their mental health issues head on, but at the same time, not everyone feels safe to do that openly. Never judge someone (even if that someone is yourself) for what they may be going through, because the answer isn't always that simple or obvious. What's that you say? "Ronnie, you are undeniably a shining light of angelic perfection 👼🏻 and I can't imagine you having any life struggles or hardships!" I mean yes, I'm an amazing, flawless, and expertly crafted demi-god, but honestly I'm an insecure hot mess (I think the constant self-complimenting gives that away). In all seriousness though, I do believe that life is a gift to be treasured, but it can also get really tough. Although some people may appear to have it together on the outside, in the end each and every single one of us are just trying to be happy and figure it all out. We could use more mental health professionals in the world, but until then we can help each other out by being less judgmental and much more compassionate toward each other. So in conclusion, don't be a bag of dicks when it comes to mental health. 🙅🏻♂️#breakthestigma #mentalhealth #monday
#mentalhealthawarenessweek Anyone who knows me knows I'm always smiling and laughing. It's a different story on the inside though, I remember one of the worst panic attacks of my life and it was a few hours before this photo was taken almost 2 years ago. I remember sat in my room and all of a sudden I was unable to breathe and my heart felt like it was coming out of my chest, my body went cold and I was shaking, I didn't think I could face going out that night. Over time my anxiety has become a lot easier to deal with and I rarely have panic attacks now but there are still days when it takes over my mind and it takes a lot to put on a brave face. So many people are afraid to talk about their mental health issues as a lot of people think it's an over reaction, but I can honestly say that it's not! Think about what some people might be going through before you judge ❤️ #breakthestigma
#HereForYou couldn’t have come at a better time, as May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20 per cent of Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime and today’s youth are especially susceptible. Unfortunately, only one out of five children who need mental health services receives them.
Instagram’s latest campaign not only opens up the conversation around mental health, but provides easy access to communities and resources of support for those who are struggling.
Speaking to Teen Vogue, Instagram COO Levine stressed that the campaign is so much more than just a hashtag. “#HereForYou is a hashtag and campaign we are using in recognition of mental health awareness,” he said, “but it also represents our commitment to foster the safest, kindest online community for self-expression.”