Social media can be a double-edged sword when it comes to mental health. On one hand, being constantly connected makes it impossible not to compare our own lives with picture-perfect 'grams and snaps—leading, of course, to FOMO, but even potentially to depression and anxiety.
On the other hand, social media is a place where people living with depression and anxiety or fighting off a bout of stress or sadness can connect to others experiencing the same thing. We can make connections online with people like us that we might never encounter IRL.
With Mental Illness Awareness Week upon us, and even though we know the value to our mental health of occasionally unplugging—especially before bed!—we want to give a shout-out to some of our favorite Instagram accounts focused on mental health. Give these folks a follow next time you need a pick-me-up.
Hannah Daisy is a UK-based artist and mental health activist who started the hashtag #boringselfcare. Her totally relatable illustrations showcase the simple yet crucial ways she takes care of herself, like booking a doctor appointment and showing up on time, drinking enough water, or remembering to breathe. Make her your reminder that sometimes the boring stuff is super-important.
Milly Smith describes herself as a "body/self-lovin' bad-ass momma." The mental health and chronic illness advocate's body positivity posts are always huge hits with her fans. She often posts about depression and suicide too, in hopes of helping followers understand what mental illness really looks like.
Filmmaker Elyse Fox founded Sad Girls Club in 2017 after releasing a documentary about her experiences living with depression. Her personal account walks the walk of her caption: "You can accomplish your goals while living with a mental illness."
The comics Beth Evans draws celebrate you on your good days and can commiserate with you on your bad days. With few words and minimal imagery, Evans manages to sum up some of the trickier aspects of mental illness into perfectly shareable, relatable posts.
After his brother-in-law died of suicide, Luke Ambler started Andy's Man Club, a "talking group for men" where they can open up about their mental health, free of stigma. While more women are diagnosed with mental illnesses, men account for nearly 80% of all suicides, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To help reach men who might otherwise feel hopeless, Ambler started the #itsokaytotalk campaign, which encourages men to share selfies making the "okay" sign with their hands as a way to start important conversations. You'll find lots of inspiring suicide prevention messages on his personal account.
Brazilian illustrator Marcela Sabiá posts enthusiastically on the topics of self love, mental health, and body positivity. She's all about owning your mental and physical health issues. She'll make you appreciate the skin you're in.
Professor and researcher Brené Brown, author of Braving the Wilderness, ($17; amazon.com) studies vulnerability, empathy, and courage—and freely shares her inspiring and encouraging findings on social media.
Illustrator Stephanie Baxter makes beautifully intricate designs featuring the inspiring quotes you need. For the month of October, she's donating proceeds from sales of her artwork to the UK-based mental health charity Mind.
The Latest Kate's artwork includes animals with encouraging sayings and comics covering what it's like to live with depression and anxiety; it's a project she started as a form of self-care. As the artist sums up on Patreon: "Though I generally create and write for myself (hooray for art therapy), I've found that my artwork has been helpful to others, and so in helping to fund my artwork you can help others as well."
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