Instagram has played an important role in my mental health recovery and advocacy as it is where I started my organization “Where is the Sunshine?” My advocacy grew out of an account that I created to spread positive mental health awareness to myself and others while I was struggling with depression and anxiety. Suffice to say I was completely caught by surprise today when I read the Quartz article citing research about the negative effects of Instagram.
Since it joined with Facebook and committed to helping mental health by deleting accounts that depicted suicide and self-harm, Instagram has been a wonderful source for those who need positive motivation. The app allows one to flag another post that might include negative mental health coping mechanisms, and provides safety contact information to the original poster. While I’m aware that there are lots of fashion, travel and food accounts, there’s also plenty accounts that do wonderful work and promote healthy lifestyles. It’s also a great source for individuals looking to connect to others like them. In fact, since one chooses who they follow, one can easily avoid negative account. I for instance, follow accounts that promote mental wellness, advocacy and well-being. While the article sights bullying, “unrealistic expectations” and “fear of missing out,”every social media site has these issues. They aren’t isolated to just one app.
Instagram is really what one makes of it. I enjoy the app because it visualizes mental health rather than just having someone write about it. It’s a great source for positivity, especially for me, and one that has changed my mental health journey.