Let’s face it-- social media can be tricky sometimes. While it’s certainly a helpful tool in keeping us connected, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we’re constantly pressured to show off the best version of ourselves online. Plus, when our feeds are full of endless information, and bad news that’s often out of our control, tuning everything out can seem like the easier option.
Social media also has the potential to impact our mental health. In a study from the Washington Post, 43% of Gen Z’ers admitted that social media negatively affects their self-esteem. Additionally, 27% of Gen Z, which is defined by its online-ness, reports poor mental health. This statistic is particularly striking since it’s 12% higher than the next closest generation.
But certainly, our social media experiences don’t need to be negative. By following Gen Z’ers who advocate for mental health and self-care, we can turn our feeds into safer and kinder places. Moreover, when we find advocates who offer diverse perspectives, experiences, and voices around mental health, we gain new insights and strategies we might otherwise miss in the algorithm.
Here are 6 Gen Z’ers to follow on Instagram if you want to break open your echo chamber around mental health:
Francesca Nicole Reicherter is a mental health advocate committed to using her platform to be a voice for those who have lost theirs. She is the founder of Inspiring my Generation, a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting disparities in mental health awareness, support, and treatment accessibility. On Instagram, Francesa shares resources and initiates conversations from various perspectives about making mental health care more accessible for everyone. In addition, she draws from her personal experience with suicide and mental health treatment to create safe spaces for people to talk about their own experiences.
In 2014, Satvik Sethi was searching through Instagram to find inspirational quotes. After coming across an account of someone engaging in self-harm, he reached out to the person to offer support. Now, Satvik is the Founder and CEO of the Runaway App, which offers free mental health resources and allows users to have conversations with student volunteers just like himself who can listen and offer support. The company works with organizations like Mental Health America and World Health Organization to empower young advocates and conduct research on student mental health. Satvik is a true Conversationalist who appeared in our Education and Suicide Prevention panel last year.
Anna Zoe uses their platform to educate their followers about mental health, body positivity, and neurodiversity. They use Instagram to speak about their autism diagnosis, identity as an LGBTQ+ individual, and how they intersect with their mental health journey. Their images often feature them holding a sign that conveys a message around topics such as breaking down stereotypes, validation, and living an authentic life. Anna also uses their platform to express support and share resources around causes that matter to them, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.
High school student Christian Hall uses social media to help his fellow Gen Z’ers feel less alone. Through his platform, Mental Health Blogger, Christian posts reels where he reminds his audience that mental health matters and should be a priority in all of our lives. He also seeks to break down stigmas and have meaningful conversations about mental health both on and offline. When he’s not creating content on social media, Christian is committed to having conversations about mental health both on and offline. He is also an active member of the TC community, where he serves on our Advisory Board, and is one of the 2020 LIST honorees in the Mental Health category.
Densika Ravindiralingam is the co-founder of Mindscape, a youth-led organization that strives to break down barriers around mental health while emphasizing the importance of being self-aware and practicing self-care. She and her team use Instagram to share practical mental health advice, such as affirmations, recipes and conversation starters, and tips for starting conversations that break mental health stigmas. Densika plans to become a psychiatrist one day and believes that mental health impacts all of us. She wants to use her passion for mental health to make care more accessible for everyone. You can find her starting conversations and sharing resources in the TC community.
Oseremhen is an activist from Ohio who is studying Chinese, Political Science, and International Relations specialization at The Ohio State University. Ose uses their platform and writing skills to talk about the intersection between LGBT issues and mental health. They also fight for safe school environments for LGBT students in K-12 schools to promote student wellness. They previously served as the National Student Advocate of the Year for LGBTQ+ nonprofit GLSEN and are a campus ambassador for GLAAD. On Instagram, Ose shares their work with the student government, where they seek to hold OSU accountable for building a more inclusive campus.
What mental health advocates do you follow on social media? How can we make our feeds more diverse and welcome various perspectives around mental health? Join us in Geneva to continue the conversation and follow The Conversationalist on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok and check out Conversation Nation for new content every week.