Instagram Contributes to Mental Health Awareness Month


Photo Courtesy of Instagram (@sleepinthegardn)

Actress Troian Bellisario of Pretty Little Liars shows her support for the campaign.

Alyssa Pepito, Photojournalist

Anytime and anywhere, people are always sucked into their phones. More specifically, they are on social media scrolling through endless posts on their feed. Thus, using their own platform for the better, Instagram launched a new campaign on the week of May 9th which will last for the month of May, and it’s called #HereForYou. They are using this campaign as a way to increase the conversation around mental health in order to appreciate and celebrate Mental Health Awareness Month.

Along with using the hashtag, people are asked to share their own photos along with a brief or elaborate paragraph on their experiences including what their condition is such as anxiety or eating disorders. In order to kick off the initiative, Instagram told the stories of three people whom live with mental health disorders, in which all of them used Instagram as a way to cope with their conditions.

Their purpose, according to one of the advocates in the campaign’s video, is to not leave the people with mental health problems to hide away. The goal is to let millions of social media users be more touched by other’s experiences and not just let it fly by. The advocate, Elyse Fox, admits that “you never know how your story can affect someone in a positive way or make them feel like they’re not alone” (Huffington Post). Fox created an Instagram account called Sad Girls Club as a way to speak about her own experiences in hopes to encourage others to not wait so long to get support. With the campaign, she wants it to help erase the feelings of shame that often come with mental health issues.

There is a strong and high chance that there will be a support system by being more open on social media. Some celebrities who have truly suffered from mental illnesses have spoken out using the hashtag. However, some celebrities who have not had any experience still spoke out and encouraged people to “[not] suffer in silence.”

This campaign is important as it tries to erase the negative stereotypes which are attached to mental illness, even though it is so common. According to certain studies, stigma often prevents people from seeking any help and makes the ones living with such conditions feel like others do not care for their experience or feel any sympathy towards it. With movements such as #HereForYou, the purpose is to convey that there are people out there who really do understand and can empathize. Fiona Hsu (10) reveals that “it’s really heartwarming to have people sharing their stories on social media to support the one’s who can’t.”

Instagram is doing a good deed in spreading the word about mental health and how it is too real and present in the world. They are using their app for the better and influencing others to open up their eyes about mental health issues.