There’s no time like literally right now to add some self care to your Instagram feed.
We know you’ve mostly been endlessly scrolling into the void lately — you might as well encounter some uplifting, affirming content along the way.
In the midst of a global pandemic, an especially contentious U.S. presidential election, and worldwide protests against systemic racism, caring for your mental health is, arguably, even more important than ever. According to a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation, over half of Americans have reported that the coronavirus pandemic has negatively impacted their mental health. A June 2020 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that young adults, Black and Latinx people of all ages, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers were reporting much higher rates of negative mental health outcomes, like symptoms of anxiety or depression, as compared with a similar timeframe in 2019.
In any year, though, you’re anything but alone in encountering bumps in the road when it comes to your mental health. One in five adults in the U.S. experience some form of mental illness every year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. We all need a little — or a lot — of support now and again as we navigate our complicated lives.
The mental health organizations below all regularly post advice and resources that can help you navigate your mental health journey or help your loved ones with theirs. You can turn to their social accounts for light mental health guidance through videos with experts, resource guides, or accessible mental health tips.
Adding new accounts to your Instagram feed, of course, can’t replace actual mental health care. Stephanie Rogers, senior vice president of communications and marketing at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), told Mashable via email that more and more people are talking openly about their mental health on social media, which can be incredibly helpful in alleviating stigma. She adds, however, that “our Instagram is not a substitute for professional mental health care.”
Additionally, Rogers adds a caveat about “toxic positivity,” which is prevalent on social media. It assigns value exclusively to positive feelings, at the expense of validating the difficult ones too.
“We’re always trying to let people know that if they’re not doing well, that’s OK, and there is help available.”
“We don’t want anyone to feel like there’s something wrong with them if they can’t stay positive. It’s just not how mental health works,” Rogers wrote. “We’re always trying to let people know that if they’re not doing well, that’s OK, and there is help available.”
With all that in mind, we selected Instagram accounts from organizations with a demonstrated commitment to providing mental health services that regularly share actionable information and helpful tips.
While following the accounts below will brighten your feed, and educate you while you’re scrolling, if you’re struggling, it’s always best to seek professional care.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the country. NAMI works to assist those impacted by mental illness through advocacy and education. The organization supports legislation that benefits mental health, such as recent efforts to make a three-digit universal suicide prevention and crisis hotline. It also provides mental health education classes around the country.
On NAMI’s Instagram feed, you’ll find talks with experts like NAMI’s medical director and public figures, like actors Selena Gomez and Sterling K. Brown. NAMI also posts mental health resources and uplifting messages. There are helpful tips, for instance, on how to focus on the parts of your life that you can control, as well as daily mantras to help support your mental health.
Barb Solish, acting national director of marketing and communications at NAMI, told Mashable via email that NAMI strives “to produce content that gives help and hope to those who need it, wherever they are in their mental health journey.”
She adds that while “seeing the right post on Instagram can be light on an otherwise dark day,” those in need of mental health support should not hesitate to reach out to NAMI’s HelpLine, and those in crisis should contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) or Crisis Text Line (text “NAMI” to 741741).
“We strive to send a message to LGBTQ young people that they are beautiful the way they are, that they deserve love and support, and that they are never alone.”
You can find affirming messages for LGBTQ individuals on the Trevor Project’s Instagram, results from its mental health surveys, suggestions for simple self-care actions you can take daily, and links to its lifeline.
Rory Gory, digital marketing manager for the Trevor Project, told Mashable via email that through its Instagram, the organization hopes “to reach LGBTQ young people who may be lacking support or who don’t know about the resources available to help them.”
Gory continued: “By highlighting LGBTQ artists and messages of self-love and affirmation, we strive to send a message to LGBTQ young people that they are beautiful the way they are, that they deserve love and support, and that they are never alone.”
The Loveland Foundation works to bring mental health services to communities of color, with a particular focus on Black women and girls. It’s founder, Rachel Cargle, a writer and lecturer, started a GoFundMe campaign for her birthday in 2018 to raise money for Black women and girls unable to pay for therapy. It was incredible successful: Through social media, Cargle raised $250,000.
She then turned the campaign into a nonprofit, and worked with a consultant to grow it. Now, the Loveland Foundation raises money to fund or provide financial assistance to Black women and girls who are seeking therapy nationwide.
You can turn to the Loveland Foundation’s Instagram for guided meditations, conversations about grief, self care tips, and testimonials from those who have received therapy funds, which highlight why it’s so important to seek help when you need it.
Trans Lifeline is a trans-led, grassroots hotline that offers emotional support to trans folks in crisis. Its Instagram provides a host of resources to help trans individuals get the mental health care they need.
Trans LifeLine’s Instagram seeks “to share content that makes people feel good and celebrated, whether that’s amazing art or a powerful story.”
There’s information about its lifeline, where trans people provide peer support for trans callers who need it. There are also resources for helping to protect the trans folks around you, such as information on what to do instead of calling the police if you encounter someone in crisis.
Bri Barnett, the interim director of communications for Trans Lifeline, told Mashable via email that Trans Lifeline’s Instagram presence is meant to be a continuation of its work providing peer support.
“We want to provide resources that help people understand how to be there for a trans person in crisis, alternatives to calling the police on your friends who are going through a hard time, and ways to practice resilience personally,” Barnett wrote. She added that Trans LifeLine’s Instagram seeks “to share content that makes people feel good and celebrated, whether that’s amazing art or a powerful story.”
The Jed Foundation is a nonprofit that partners with high schools and colleges to aid their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs. The organization gives guidance to leaders on school campuses on their mental health services, and helps organize nationwide campaigns like Seize the Awkward, which encourages young people to start conversations about mental health with their friends.
On the Jed Foundation’s Instagram, you’ll find mental health resources and tips catered to young people, as well as advice that’s applicable no matter your age. While there’s advice on how to find balance during the school year, there’s also more general information, like tips on what to keep in mind before your first teletherapy call.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) supports research, education, and advocacy efforts for suicide prevention.
The AFSP’s Instagram features self-care strategies, reminders to reach out to others, and ways to get involved in suicide prevention efforts. You’ll find information about how to support your own mental health during periods of change, for instance, or guidance on what to do if someone discloses to you that they’re contemplating suicide.
“Our goal is to create a space on the platform where people can learn from the experts about how to care for themselves, the people they love, and spread positive and supportive ways to safeguard your mental health,” Stephanie Rogers, the senior vice president of communications and marketing at AFSP, told Mashable.
If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For international resources, this list is a good place to start.