Instagram campaign celebrates how the platform connects users experiencing mental illness


Image: Brittany Herbet/Mashable, Instagram

Instagram is taking yet another step to embrace the raw and brave conversations around mental heath that happen on its platform.

On May 8, the social media giant announced the launch of a new awareness campaign called #HereForYou, which highlights how the platform has helped support users struggling with mental illness. The campaign celebrates Instagram users who boldly speak out about their mental health journeys on platform, which in turn creates space for others to do the same and connect in the community.

The campaign’s launch coincides with Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

“Every day, people use Instagram to share their mental health journeys and connect with communities of support,” Instagram said in a release. “From dedicated accounts tackling real issues, to hashtags of support and kind comments, Instagram has become an important community of support. We are inspired by these voices.”

“Through Instagram, I was able to connect with other girls going through similar things.”

A video promoting the campaign, which started appearing to users as a sponsored post from Instagram on May 8, features three Instagrammers who have used the platform to start conversations around mental health. Those advocates include Elyse Fox, who started @SadGirlsClub to support girls of color experiencing mental illness, and Luke Ambler, who started the viral hashtag campaign #ItsOkayToTalk to encourage men to talk about suicidal thoughts and depression.

“Through Instagram, I was able to connect with other girls going through similar things,” Fox says in the video. “My main thing is to bring girls together, and to let the girls know they’re aren’t alone.”

The video also highlights mental health-based hashtags commonly used on the platform, including #MentalHealthMatters, #RecoveryIsPossible,and #EndTheStigma.

About 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness in any given year. Getting candid on social media about mental health conditions has become a popular way to challenge stigma and connect with community and Instagram has long been working to support people who use their platform for this purpose.

About 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. will experience mental illness in any given year.

Throughout the past year, Instagram has rolled out several tools to better support users experiencing mental illness. As of October, users can also anonymously report others who may be in need of mental health support, with Instagram then sending the user a message with mental health resources in their country. These resources also display when someone visits a hashtag for a sensitive topic, like hashtags associated with self-harm, eating disorders, and suicide.

The platform, however, has long been critiqued for policing its app too heavily, including banning some body positive hashtags and removing photos featuring menstrual blood and breasts.

Instagram recently launched the website instagram-together.com to document their efforts to develop tools addressing bullying, mental health, and other sensitive topics with more transparency.

If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list is a good place to start.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/05/08/instagram-mental-health-campaign-hereforyou/

Find Your Support Community on Instagram

Every day, people use Instagram to share their mental health journeys and connect with communities of support. We are inspired by these voices. #hereforyou