Instagram has gone through some scrutiny in the past while about the dangers of the app and our mental health. I mean, what do they expect? How is a girl supposed to feel when she’s strapped to a desk and yearning for sunshine while her feed is filled with wanderlust travellers and tropical islands?
Recent studies say that out of all of our favourite social media platforms, Instagram is most likely to leave users feeling depressed and down. Two researchers from University of Vermont and Harvard have even found evidence that even the filter you harmlessly choose actually attributes to feelings of depression and anxiety. Why is it always the ones we love who betray us?
One such study conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) and the Young Health Movement (YHM), Instagram is ranked the worst out of all the major social media platforms in terms of detriments to the mental health of young adults. The study, titled #StatusOfMind, gathered the data of 1,500 young people (ages 14-24) across the UK and from this, were able to determine that feelings of anxiety, self-identity, and negative body image were among the top results noted.
In response, Instagram has created the #HereForYou campaign in an effort to highlight the people sharing their mental health stories on Instagram and to encourage healthy internet behaviour.
While sharing photos helps people to cope with mental health, it’s important to be mindful that the photo (even though it seems harmless) may be, in fact, harmful to another Instagram user. “#HereForYou is a hashtag and campaign we are using in recognition of mental health awareness, but it also represents our commitment to foster the safest, kindest online community for self-expression,” Instagram COO Marne Levine told Teen Vogue.
In the past, Instagram has tried other measures to combat depression and anxiety among its growing online community, but this campaign has a new edge to it. In the video below, Instagram speaks to several mental health advocates around the world including, Elyse Fox of SadGirlsClub, who use social media to reach out to those struggling with depression and other mental conditions. Get involved by adding the #HereForYou hashtag to your posts
Campaign or not, though, I’m still going to feel relentless envy towards those travelling the world and me, not travelling the world.