Instagram Issued A Powerful Statement Of Support For Users Affected By Mental Illness

On December 15, 2016, Brooklyn-based filmmaker Elyse Fox posted a trailer for her latest work, Convos with Friends, to Instagram. The piece, which Fox called her most personal yet, addressed her struggles with depression, which, up to that point, she had dealt with on her own.
“Sometimes I look in the mirror, and I’m just staring at myself hard as fuck, wondering why I can’t see what everyone else sees,” Fox says in the trailer. “Perception is always key, but I do feel like I’m fooling all of my friends and family. How can I trick people for this long, and how can they not notice?”
Immediately after posting the trailer, Fox received a DM from a girl in Paris, then another from a woman in London. Since December, women have contacted her on a daily basis, seeking mentorship and words of support. What Fox saw as her "coming out party for depression," struck a chord with others, who saw the emotions they were feeling inside staring back at them from their screens.
Fox is not alone. She’s one of many people who have taken to Instagram to share the stories surrounding their mental illness. Today, Instagram announced a new campaign, #HereForYou, that unites these stories and aims to create a supportive community for anyone who is affected by mental illness.
“When I was struggling, I didn’t feel like I had anyone who was there for me,” Fox told Refinery29. “Showing someone that you are there for them can help move them in the right direction.”
Pretty Little Liars' Troian Bellisaro posted with the hashtag, and Instagram is encouraging anyone to share their story and tag it #HereForYou.
The campaign follows in the footsteps of other mental health-minded resources that Instagram has introduced over the past 12 months. These include new anonymous reporting tools and a way to turn off commenting for a post. But there's still a ways to go. Fox said that in the future, she hopes to see tools that make it easier to connect with someone nearby who is facing similar challenges.
In a world full of pastel macarons, rainbow-swirled unicorn lattes, and perfect nights out with friends, seeing and reading honest posts about mental health struggles is an important reality check. Fox's posts and others tagged #HereForYou are powerful reminders that Instagram should be a place for challenging stigmas and engaging in more open, truthful conversations — alongside trendy, colorful concoctions, sure.
If you are in crisis, please get help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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