Real Life

Instagram Unveils #HereForYou Campaign To Support People With Mental Health Issues

Instagram is a platform that can perpetuate the myth of perfection and end up making people feel bad in comparison - but it also works the other way around.

As Mental Health Awareness Week gets underway, the social media channel has created a video that highlights how its community rallies around those suffering from depression, anorexia and other mental health issues.

"Every day on Instagram, we see people share their mental health journeys and connect with communities of support," says founder and chief executive Kevin Systrom.

"From dedicated accounts around an issue to unique hashtags adopted by groups, these communities are helping to make illnesses that are often invisible to friends and family visible through photos and videos.

"We are committed to fostering a safer, kinder community and highlighting these inspiring voices."

A post on the Sad Girls Club account

In the video, Instagram hears from three powerful voices; people who have openly documented their struggles and started conversations around mental health.

In doing so, they've rallied strong and empathetic support networks dedicated to smashing the stigma of battles that often go unnoticed in the wider world.

One of those involved in the campaign is 27-year-old New Yorker Elyse Fox (pictured above, main photo), who founded the Sad Girls Club on Instagram.

"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," she says.

"My main thing is to bring girls together and let girls know they aren’t alone."

Sacha Cuddy has started an important conversation around anorexia

The new video also hears from 18-year-old Sacha Cuddy, whose Instagram page @TheTremblingOfALeaf illustrates her struggle with anorexia.

"Mental illness SHOULD be talked about, don't stay silent," says Sacha (pictured above).

"Suffering does not make you weak, or an embarrassment. If you're struggling, please talk to someone... Don't keep it in because you think some people have it 'worse than you'. Mental illness is mental illness, no matter the severity, your problems are VALID."

Pretty Little Liars actress Troian Bellisario

Pretty Little Liars actress Troian Bellisario is also involved in the campaign, having opened up about her fight against anorexia.

"No one should suffer in silence. There is no shame in asking for help. Take this moment to let someone know we are #hereforyou," she says.

Instagram is using the #HereForYou initiative to open dialogue around mental health around the world, and break the taboo still associated with it.

It's also using the campaign as an opportunity to focus on the tools it launched last year, that help connect people with mental health resources in their local area.

If you see a post from someone on Instagram who may need mental health support, you can anonymously report it. The next time that person logs into the app, they'll be connected to organisations in their area that offer support.

The same resources appear if someone visits a page for sensitive hashtags such as #RecoveryIsPossible and #ItsOkayToTalk.

Watch the video in full on Instagram.

Read More: Could Anxiety Be Your Secret Weapon?

Read More: Six Women We Admire On Battling Anxiety And Depression

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