Happy Friday and TGIF and whatever

For today’s #FoodForThoughtFriday, I’ve been inspired by Instagram

The Topic: Mental Health

For those of you who haven’t read about it, Instagram just launched a new feature that allows you to anonymously flag a user’s post if you think they might need help with these issues. There’s an article about it on Hello Giggles if you want to learn more.

Mental Health Disorders, such as anxiety and depression, and the  ways in which an individual can seek help for these, have been stigmatized in our society for a while now, and this stigma does so much harm and no good, so Instagram is working with organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (The Lifeline) to help reduce this stigma.

In a society where there is an unprecedented amount of pressure on our youth and young adults anxiety disorders affect nearly 1 in every 5 Americans aged 18 and older, and as many as 1 in 4 children aged 13-18, and mood disorders (such as depression and bipolar disorder) affect nearly 10% of adults 18+ and 14% of children aged 13-18.

That’s a lot of people. And you probably know at least one of them.

But these mental health disorders are largely ignored and stigmatized in our society for some reason. And despite the fact that these disorders are relatively treatable through therapy, medication, or a combination of the two, not many people who have them actually get treatment; this is largely because of the stigma surrounding the disorders themselves and what is perceived as “weakness” when one seeks treatment for them.

Speaking from my own experience, it can be very scary to get help for these disorders; it requires research to find the right counseling center, and then you have to find the right counselor, which can be a struggle (there are a lot of counselors out there, so there’s bound to be one who’s right for you) and deciding (with your counselor and someone licensed to prescribe medications for mental disorders) if medication is a viable option for you can be difficult, but once you find the right combination of counseling and/or medication (and sometimes some people might need to go to a treatment center, which is okay too), it becomes possible to live your life in a healthier, happier way.

Anxiety and Depression, of course, are not the only two mental health disorders affecting our populations today, and I encourage everyone to learn about all different types of disorders and their symptoms to help those around them who may be suffering. A good place to start might be at the National Institute of Mental Health and branch off into organizations that focus on specific disorders–such as NEDA, the Lifeline, and the Anxiety and Depression Association of American (ADAA)–from there to learn more about them.

And, most importantly, if you suspect someone in your life might have a mental health disorder of any sort, reach out to them in a gentle, supportive way and let them know that you’re there for them. And if someone talks to you about their experience with any of these disorders, make sure that they know you’re there for them if they need to talk and support them, rather than reacting in a negative way. A positive, supportive response when someone tells you about their struggle with mental health disorders can make a world of difference in that person’s life, but a negative response can hurt them very deeply and cause them to lose their trust in you permanently.

And if you are dealing with any sort of mental disorder, don’t be afraid to seek help. There are so many resources available to you and you deserve a chance to feel better and live your best life.

I hope that everyone has a wonderful Friday and finds the things they need. ❤



The Fierce Feminist