Social media can be a force for good, encouraging users to turn to a supportive community that's been there.
Instagram has already shown its commitment to mental health awareness by banning hashtags like #thinspo and allowing users to anonymously report another person's troubling post, so the social media network can offer help. Now, Instagram is solidified this commitment by kicking off a new campaign, #HereForYou.
The hashtag encourages people to share their own experiences with mental health issues—navigating depression or anxiety, for example, or dealing with an eating disorder or suicidal thoughts. The goal is to end the stigma and stereotypes surrounding mental illness and remind anyone who feels isolated and alone that a community of users who know what they're going through is there to talk and connect them to helpful resources.
Instagram's campaign, which coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month, is being launched with a #HereForYou video focusing on three users: Elyse Fox of @sadgirlsclubbpg, Sacha Cuddy of @thetremblingofaleaf, and Luke Ambler of @ambler09. All three have a different mental health journey to tell, and they're committed to sharing it with their followers and encouraging everyone to add their voice to the conversation.
At the end of the video, several mental health awareness hashtags are shown on screen, including #ItsOKToTalk, #MentalHealthMatters, #RecoveryIsPossible, #SadGirlsClub, #EndTheStigma, #SelfLoveClub, and #EDWarrior. Viewers and users are free to share their thoughts and feelings.
Finding yourself dealing with mental issues can be isolating and scary. Social media can be a safe place to connect with people who know what you're going through and find support. Kudos to Instagram for recognizing this and creating a hashtag that breaks the silence.