Although mental health has been a taboo topic in the past, over the last year, many companies have started to tackle wellness in a more holistic way. Just last month, Kaiser Permanente debuted an ad featuring a surprising spokesperson for mental health: Stephan Curry. This May, for Mental Health Awareness Month, one more unexpected voice is jumping into the wellness conversation.
One-in-five adults in the U.S. experience a mental health condition during their life, but the issue is far from part of the mainstream conversation. Now, Instagram, a social media platform that has been criticized in the past for influencers who promote an unsustainable lifestyle, is bringing awareness of the topic to its 700 million users in a very honest way. The social media giant announced the launch of its new #HereForYou campaign, which shows how the platform can be used to battle mental illness. As part of the campaign, Instagram aired a video on the platform that featured three regular users – no celebrities or influencers – who shared their journeys via images and videos and sparked conversation around mental health. The video also highlights a handful of mental wellness hashtags that users can use or visit for support. In addition to the video, Instagram has added a handful of support features. For example, users can anonymously report a post from someone that might need support and the next time the user logs into the app Instagram will send them a list of organizations that can offer assistance. These resources also display when someone visit a hashtag for a sensitive topic, like hashtags associated with self-harm, eating disorders or suicide.
Instagram’s candid portrayal of users’ lives is a welcome departure from the typical influencer post – showing viewers that everyday people can struggle with mental health. In this way, Instagram has harnessed the power of its platform to create not just a positive message, but a host of helpful resources embedded into users’ routines. Now, mental health is less of a taboo topic as millions of users are exposed to the reality and can easily start a conversation about the issue.