There has been an increase in the discussion regarding mental health amongst social media, normalising the stigma regarding mental illness. On May 8th 2017, coinciding with Mental Health Awareness Month, Instagram announced the launch of its new campaign which addressed mental health issues in a heads-on way by introducing the hashtag #hereforyou. The hashtag’s intention was to encourage users to share experiences on their struggles with mental health, with the goal to end the stigmas and stereotypes surrounding mental health issues and to remind anyone feeling alone that there are people out there who they can talk to and empathise with their struggles; overall showing users that they are not alone.
Instagram’s Chief Operating Officer Marne Levine stated that “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 in Instagram”.
The campaign was first introduced by Instagram through the launch of a one-minute campaign video featuring three Instagram users: Elyse Fox (@sadgirlsclubbpng) on her battle with depression, Sacha Cuddy (@thetremblingofaleaf) on her recovery from anorexia, and Luke Ambler (@ambler09), who focuses to remove the stigma for men to talk about mental health and suicidal thoughts. At the end of the short film, more hashtags are shown on the screen which include #ItsOKToTalk, #MentalHealthMatters, #RecoveryIsPossible, #SadGirlsClub, #EndTheStigma, #SelfLoveClub, and #EDWarrior. Other viewers and users are also free to and encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings.
The campaign has proven to be successful as considering that Instagram has a huge power to have an influence, they have launched the topic of mental health into the realm of public discussion, and with the campaign launch, they have brought mental health into the newsfeeds of billions of people- from people who are struggling themselves to people who may have attached negative stigmas.
Levine has said that there is already a community of people who support each other on Instagram, however hopes that through this campaign more users will be able to find that they can relate to each other.
“The hashtag, here for you, that’s something that people say all the time already on Instagram”, Levine said, adding that the new campaign highlights individuals and “giving examples of people in the community” to whom others can relate.
McKelvey, K, 2017, Instagram Launches #HereForYou Campaign for Mental Health Awareness, ABC News, https://abcnews.go.com/Health/instagram-launches-hereforyou-campaign-mental-health-awareness/story?id=47262825
Instagram, 2017, Find Your Support Community on Instagram, Vimeo, https://vimeo.com/216306445#embed
Brar, F, 2017, Instagram Launches #HereForYou Campaign to Honor Mental Health Awareness, Shape, https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/instagram-launches-hereforyou-campaign-honor-mental-health-awareness
Canning, K, 2017, Instagram’s New #HereForYou Campaign Promotes Mental Health Awareness, Health.com, https://www.health.com/anxiety/instagram-mental-health
Bury, L, 2017, I’m Here for Instagram’s #HereForYou Campaign, Medium, https://medium.com/babble-on/im-here-for-instagram-s-hereforyou-campaign-95209254dfd8