Why Instagram Is the Platform to Talk About Mental Health in 2018

Instagram is not only a place for pointless selfies anymore. In 2017 Instagram took significant steps toward becoming a tool for self-expression, mainly focusing on mental health. Now more than ever it is becoming a platform for mental health advocates, and users who are advocating for change. This type of movement lessens the control of the gatekeepers of information such as the news media. How does this help the mental health community? It reduces stigma in a groundbreaking way. It gives the everyday person an opportunity to share their side of the story with a broad and diverse audience. Instagram is the platform to talk about mental health in 2018, and in this post, I explain the reason why.

#HereForYou Campaign

In May 2017, Mental Health Awareness Month, Instagram showed their commitment to spreading awareness with the #HereForYou Campaign. It’s objective was to bring awareness to mental health, portraying users of Instagram who are sharing their story and making an impact. Chief Operating Officer Marne Levine told Abc News, “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. So what we decided to do is to create a video campaign highlighting these communities of support that exist on Instagram.”

As an advocate who is very active on Instagram, I was taken back by the initiative, and I will explain the reason for this reaction. I was diagnosed when I was 20 years old with bipolar 2 disorder and started advocating for mental health four years later. The last four years, I have spent time traveling on my own dime, reaching out to brands and businesses, speaking at events where only three people sat and listened to my thoughts about mental health. Thankfully, HealthyPlace.com was the first to reach out to me, giving me the opportunity to share my story on their YouTube Channel. However, again they are a mental health website, whose main objective is talking about mental health. To be honest, I felt like people, outside of advocates and online platforms like Healthyplace, didn’t give a sh*t about mental health! Then in 2017, a year after I came forward with my diagnosis of bipolar 2 disorder on mediated platforms, everything seemed to change. When Instagram started this campaign, I saw that other major companies were finally taking action.

Mental Health Advocates on Instagram

Advocates, like myself, are sharing the truth about our lives with a mental health condition and persuading the public to take a different outlook on mental health. Not only is it where advocates are building a career, but a place where everyday users feel comfortable sharing their own experience. Not feeling as though they are alone on this journey. It is a diverse range of advocates which makes Instagram all the more appealing to users. It gives everyone a voice and a safe place to share it. Can you believe it? Social Media? A Safe Place? For the most part, it is a safe place, and the person who takes the hit with stigma usually is the person with the account. In 2017, Instagram showed their loyalty to the mental health community. It has taken steps to ensure the content being shared is meaningful and with a genuine objective. In 2018, influencers will continue to grow, using Instagram as a tool to spread awareness and advocate for change in society. Personally, I have some major projects as well that I will be revealing on my Instagram. Please follow if you have not done so yet, and say hello!

 

 

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It’s Time We #SlayStigma And Talk About Mental Health in a Bold Way

Sunday’s are for Slaying Stigma, as I announced tonight on my Instagram @halfway2hannah. I am redecorating my account and confronting mental health in a bold way. I have been working on this renovation for the last couple months, coming up with ideas to talk about stigma and mental health in unique and vibrant way. I will be sharing personal stories from my journey living with bipolar 2 disorder on images captured by the beautiful photographer Jillian Clark. Sharing mental health awareness, inspirational quotes and bad ass statements!

One of the major reasons I am doing this is to get people to speak up about mental health and the issues facing society by sharing their thoughts and/or experience in the comment section. Mental health pertains to all of us, with or without a condition, so join me by following my Instagram (@halfway2hannah). I look forward to getting to know you!

 

 

Resources for Our Veterans Fighting a War at Home

Sometimes the war does not end when a soldier steps back onto American soil. For many veterans, the war continues at home. As Americans, we are obligated to serve these soldiers. Thank you to all those who have served this country. You are the root of America.

Below are a few online resources (blogs, articles, jobs, social media, apps) to check out. If you know of any more resources please comment below and share the link and/or information. I will add it to this post.

1. Download the Mobile App PTSD Coach

2. The Soldier Project: Resources for Veterans & Their Loved Ones 

3. Healing Combat Trauma

4. My Story of Survival: Battling PTSD 

5. PTSD Chick Blog 

6. Veterans Seeking Jobs: 6 online resources for Veterans who are seeking jobs 

7. FaceBook Page Dedicated to Supporting Veterans 

Sending love to all our Veterans!

9 Ways To Reduce The Stigma Of Mental Illness

It does not matter if you have or do not have a mental disorder, stigma affects us all!  Mental health is a hot topic right now, and it has never been more important to work as a community to reduce stigma.  It is time we open up the mental health conversation on our terms this time!  Here are 9 ways to reduce stigma…

1.  Knowledge is power.

Read up about mental health.  The information is easy to find.   Ask yourself, What is a mental illness?  What types of mental illness are there?  What are the symptoms? Why is it referred to as a “mental illness?”   

2.  Be active on online media platforms.

On Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook post positive articles, blogs, quotes, and/or images that relate to mental health.  Stay away from going on a wild political rant.  This can be a major turn off.  You want to encourage the conversation, not diminish it.

3.  Get people involved.

Bring your friends along with you to events or volunteer opportunities.  It gives a different image of mental health than what they may have originally thought.

4.  Develop your own opinion.

You do not want to sound “memorized” when talking about mental health to other people.  Take the information you have gathered, and form your own personal opinion.  What ideas will you share with the public?

5.  Be confident, cool & collected.

It is nerve-wrecking to talk to people about mental health.  This should not stop you from being vocal.  You do not have to be aggressive.  Be calm and collected when expressing your views to others.

6.  Get people talking.

Casually introduce the topic of mental health in a social conversation with friends or family.  Hey, did you know that Demi Lovato is diagnosed with Bipolar II?   Get the conversation rolling and get people talking.  You might be surprised how interested people are by the topic.

7.  Focus on the positive.

There are many successful, and incredibly gifted people with mental disorders in society.  However, this is not what is heard or seen in the media.  Discuss mental health with a positive attitude.  People are more willing to listen, and engage in the conversation.

8.  Reveal the parts of you that contradict stigma.

It is important to reveal things about yourself, or someone else, that conflict with what “stigma says.”  Mental illness does not define you, or anyone else.  You want people to embrace your character before acknowledging your disorder.  This encourages people to question what they hear in the media about mental health.

9.  Share your story, only if you are comfortable with it.

This is not for everyone.  It is not easy to be open about mental illness, and due to the stigma, there are consequences.  Your story established a personal connection with readers, and shows the impact of stigma and labels.  If you want to share your story, I will be creating a page in the following weeks on my blog, “Your Story.”  The guidelines will be listed, and I would love to help you on your journey to sharing your story.