May 14, 2016: Gemma Styles, a contributing writer for the Bauer Media run site The Debrief ,addresses the idea of having honest communication about our mental health. In her May article How Instagram Got Us Talking About Mental Health she mentions an unusual but effective way people are opening the door for discussions about mental health by using social media, in this instance, Instagram.
Gemma mentions that, while a personal “share all” is probably not the best idea, sharing your own story of struggles and experiences helps you and it can also help others share, generating honest talk about mental health. Sharing together helps remove the stigma and shame that has been associated with mental issues that kept people silent and isolated with their struggles. Until now.
An Instagram account letstalkmentalhealth and its website run by Jessica Walsh, is actually an offshoot from a 12 step initiative created first by Jessica and her friend, Timothy Goodman (picture below credited to their website).
The 12 Kinds of Kindness is a conscious intention approach to becoming a kind person with the purpose of practicing kindness in their daily lives. Jessica and Timothy broke this process down into a 12 Step Program. An example of these types of steps is the Part 3 Step (shared below from their site), in which Jessica explains how she came to create the offshoot website and Instagram account @letstalkaboutmentalhealth, the one which Gemma Syles mentioned in the Debrief article.
The instagram account has had a huge impact on creating a space to share meaningful conversations about mental health issues. Notice the comments to the side of their posts and it becomes apparent that this is a much needed and welcome spot in social media:(shared from/credit to the @letstalkaboutmentalhealth site)
Talking about our own struggles and experiences is a key part in removing the stigmas and misconceptions of mental issues and paves the way to working out how to support each other; learning how best to approach getting help needed for anyone suffering serious mental illnesses. (See our cover of Prince Harry’s initiative Head’s Together which works with these exact issues).
Here are some examples of the sharing and conversations already taking place with @letstalkmentalhealth:
Regarding mental health issues, there is a statement made by the Debrief (below Gemma’s picture featured with her article) which sums up the importance of what is taking place with talking mental health:
“THE DEBRIEF: ‘I WANT TO THANK EVERYONE WHO’S BRAVE ENOUGH TO SPEAK UP AND SHARE THEIR MENTAL HEALTH MESSAGES. THE SILENCE IS WHAT CREATES STIGMA AND SHAME.’
Resources for getting help, if needed: