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#HereForYou is Instagram's Latest Mental Health Awareness Push

Refinery29
Instagram have done an admirable amount of work to help cope with mental illness. Awareness campaigns, advertisements on the platform and, chiefly, a reporting system which enables them to offer real help to people who are self harming or exhibiting suicidal tendencies.

Instagram is filled with people who use the platform to share stories and updates about their mental health, and now this kind of sharing is being actively encouraged by Insta themselves. The #HereForYou project aims to use the platform to start a wider conversation about mental health, and the ways that Instagram can be used to help cope with it.

As such, Instagram created a video showcasing three users who have all used it to find support and discuss their issues. At the end, the video links out to Instagram-Together, a website which helps people to find 'support communities'. The video features Elyse Fox, who started the Sad Girls Club account to chronicle her struggle against depression, as well as Rugby Player Luke Ambler, who championed the #ItsOkayToTalk campaign last year.

Both #SadGirlsClub and #ItsOkayToTalk have since become gateways into large support centres for mental health, whether people want to be sent messages of support, talk through their problems with others who are facing them as well or just read other people's stories. Instagram's approach with #HereForYou is to create a database of all those hashtags and groups so that anyone feeling lost and alone knows where to go for help.

People are already able to connect to local mental health services via Instagram, but often the first hurdle is actually convincing people to get real outside help. Opening up a dialogue online is often an important first step, and many sufferers of depression and other mental illnesses are far more likely to open up to people like them than, say, call a helpline. There's no one way to deal with issues like this, but mutual understanding is a powerful tool.

The filter between real life and social media varies from person to person, but some platforms are certainly more raw than others. Because of the way Instagram is laid out, many people find it to be a good place to vent about their issues, but sadly others also use it to broadcast their self-abuse, or even plans for suicide. Facebook are historically pretty bad at taking responsibility for the bad things that happen on their channels, but with this campaign, they've knocked it out of the park.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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#HereForYou is Instagram's Latest Mental Health Awareness Push Reviewed by Callum Davies on Wednesday, May 10, 2017 Rating: 5

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