Arguably, depending on your usage of social media, hashtags can be a bit of an annoyance. However, when we heard about the hashtag #mentalillnessfeelslike, a social media initiative furthering awareness of mental illness, we relaxed our thoughts on the trendy conversation tracking tool. After all, anything that lifts awareness of mental health is pretty much okay in our book, and if people will use it to keep mental health chatter going, so much the better.
The Mighty just reported on this initiative, where Mental Health America asked respondents to list their experiences in order to keep a spotlight on mental health concerns after the month of May, dedicated to mental health awareness, had ended. The responses were collected, and some of them were illustrated by the talented illustrator Gemma Correll. We encourage you to check them out and see if any of them might resonate with you or someone close to you. Because statements like these are vital to the public conversation around much-needed compassion and education around living with mental illness:
“Mental illness is faking a smile so others around you don’t know. It’s forcing yourself to get out of bed in the morning because if you don’t your anxiety will kick in. It’s hating to be alone but not having the energy to hangout with others. It’s having plain exhaustion but being unable to sleep. It’s a constant battle with yourself, every day, to just keep pushing forward and hoping for something better.”
The article is incredibly powerful, and there are 22 other separate responses that add just as much color and context to the conversation. We salute all involved for continuing to shine a light on those living with mental illness, and we hope that you’ll help them by utilizing the hashtag, encouraging those you love to seek help if needed, and to give support to those who live with mental health conditions. It’s our sincere hope through initiatives such as these along with efforts such as ours that we will someday arrive at a time where mental health conditions are treated with the same care and concerns as every other health matter. We look forward to that day of hope and grace, and we’ll continue to find ways to keep the conversation going until it arrives.