It’s all in your head", “UGH stop being a cry baby" , “Get over it macha", “Why are you so emotional?", “Retarded" , “What a lunatic", “I will end up in a panic attacks."
Sounds familiar? These are some of the comments we come across every day, either on social media posts or in conversations when someone voices their mental health troubles. Studies say social media has only led to a deterioration in the mental health of young users. The Royal Society for Public Health and Young Health Movement published a report in May 2017, “#StatusOfMind", which found that Instagram and SnapChat were the most detrimental social media platforms to the mental health of young people, leading to depression, identity crises, body image issues and FOMO (fear of missing out).
But amidst all this, there is also some solace to be found on Instagram: in the form of a support system to many who need help or just want to hear that they are not alone. Practising community healing, it provides a platform for individuals to speak about mental health issues through the medium of art, poetry and illustrations, while acting as a support system for others. Here are some Instagram accounts from around the world that are creating awareness about mental health issues. The majority of these accounts are run by people who are living with mental illness or organizations that work in the area of mental well-being.
Run by Matilda, a Swedish girl who living with mental illness, the handle demystifies mental health. Her funny and quirky comics look at a range of subjects—from recognizing symptoms to responding to anxiety attacks. This is your go-to profile to learn about mental illnesses and how one can support people with mental health issues.
This handle is run by Becks, a mindfulness facilitator, counsellor and illustrator. Through illustrations, she provides small exercises, coping techniques to help someone going through an anxiety attack and tips on mindfulness. Her work is loved for cartoons on affirmation, processing emotions, and the positive lens through which it views anxiety.
This handle is run by a college graduate named Jacqueline Chen, who has been drawing motivational comics and animations since high school. “ I started Chibird in my second year of high school, and now I’ve graduated college! This is where I share my small drawings, comics, and animations about my everyday life. I use Photoshop and a Wacom tablet. I hope they can make your day a little brighter," she says.
Sukriti Vadhera Kohli, a Mumbai-based artist and visiting faculty at city colleges, uses Instagram to spread messages of hope and strength. “I really wanted to do something for people living with mental health issues, having gone through depression at one point in my life. I even thought of giving up my current career and studying psychology. But later it occurred to me that I could do a lot through my art. Even where I teach, I see so many young people having mental health issues caused by bullying, identity crisis, etc., but nobody acknowledges them. That is what has driven me to illustrate and open an Instagram account."
Author and artist Dani DiPirro runs the handle. If you need some cheerful and happy content, this is the go-to profile. The artworks are creative, fun and chirpy. One can also buy prints of the work from their account on Linktree.
The account acts as a forum where people with mental illnesses from around the world submit their stories, which are then shared. Started by Jessica Walsh, who also runs @ladieswinedesign, empowering women in design, this is a heart-warming handle where those living with mental health can find solace by reading the stories of other people.
Bengaluru-based illustrator and book designer Sonaksha Iyengar covers a range of mental illnesses on this handle. “I started making art about my own mental health first because that felt like the most uninhibited way to express how I felt without feeling like I will be judged. After I started posting my art on Instagram, I began getting responses.... That made me realize that it is not just me who is going through this and I felt supported and comforted."
This handle, run by a women’s collective, talks about self-care, self-love and mental health for women. Their work revolves around a feministic, queer-friendly, body-positive approach to mental illnesses. The intersectional art portrays women, queer, and gender binary folks from diverse backgrounds.
Famous for her series #boringselfcare, this account is run by Hannah Daisy, a UK-based artist, illustrator and mental health activist. Through her illustrations, she talks about basic things, like everyday chores, that are difficult for people living with mental illness to perform. She terms them self-care methods that help her cope with dyslexia. She also talks about sexual health, body positivity, ableism as part of building conversations about the “most uncomfortable" topics.