If you or someone you know needs help, call 1800-599-0019 to reach KIRAN, a 24/7 national helpline set by the ministry of social justice. You can also mail firstname.lastname@example.org or dial 022-25521111 (Monday-Saturday, 8am to 10pm) to reach iCall, a psychosocial helpline set up by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
The coronavirus pandemic has led to a welcome conversation about the need to take better care of our mental health. But it’s not that easy to find accessible, helpful information on mental health concerns online. A Google search for BPD and OCD will give you the clinical symptoms but not the feelings and emotions of people who experience these concerns.
However, there are many accounts on social media, especially Instagram—run by either experts or by people who experience these mental health concerns—which provide helpful, nuanced information on mental health and how it feels to experience psychological difficulties.
If you have a mental health concern, these accounts do a great job of reminding you that you’re human, and that it’s ok to feel the way you do.
That said, do remember that these are in no way a replacement for seeking professional help. If you are not feeling great, the best way to cope is to seek help from a professional.
Founded by psychologist Bhairavi Prakash, this Instagram account is a good place to learn various aspects of mental health — how to talk to friends, how to change otherising language. They have several live sessions including something called Making Doodles for The Meh. On their website, it says the account was set up to provide “mental health information, and tools, in a way that a peer would.” This account also teaches you how to speak to your queer friends with more empathy and be more accepting and inclusive in your language.
Jade Stanton was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) herself. And now she is channeling all that she has learnt as a BPD coach. “Since my recovery, I’ve devoted my life to those people who are lost and hopeless like I was,” she writes on her website. People with BPD are often tremendously judged and misunderstood (even by mental health experts), and among the flood of misinformation about BPD, Stanton’s account is an oasis. It tries to decode for everyone what having BPD feels like, and also shares tools on how to cope.
This account is run by Robert Bray, who calls himself an “OCD Expert by experience”. While this account does not give out advice, it is a good place to begin understanding how obsessive compulsive disorder works and why people who experience this have the compulsions that they do. If you have OCD, this is a good place to find support, and feel like you’re understood.
If you’re a survivor of abuse, or any other kind of trauma, you must follow this account. (in addition to getting professional help). Run by trauma support practitioner and consultant, Sarah Mariann Martland, it reminds you everyday that it’s ok to feel the emotions (sometimes tagged as ‘negative’ by society) that you feel because you suffered certain trauma, because all of us are just human. They have a website where they have online trauma support sessions and training for people who have experienced trauma.
Co-founded by Mathew Baker, a mental health professional, and Danny Baker, an author who survived depression, this account is a storehouse of information on mental health. Each day you will find an informative set of cards that tell you stuff like “15 signs your mental health is getting bad again” or “10 hidden behaviours of someone with social anxiety”. These nuggets of information not only help those who experience mental health concerns, but also friends or family who want to provide support.