The best Instagram accounts to follow for mental health awareness week

Approximately one in four people in the UK experience a mental health problem each year. The most common diagnosis is mixed anxiety and depression, and women in England are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders

Words by Olivia Spring

In honour of Mental Health Awareness Week, we’ve put together a list of the best Instagram accounts to follow. These accounts celebrate the use of social media as a way to overcome any mental health challenges they face, raise awareness, and make people feel less alone.

Sacha Justine Cuddy (@thetremblingofaleaf)

Recovery perk #1 : the light reaches my eyes 👁 #anorexiarecovery

A post shared by Sacha Justine (@thetremblingofaleaf) on

Sacha is an 18 year old British Instagrammer who is using the platform to share her personal story as she recovers from anorexia. She has created an engaged following and hopes to inspire others to conquer their own challenges with food and mental health through sharing her own progress.

Luke Ambler (@ambler09)

Great morning over at BBC Radio Leeds raising awareness for @andysmanclubuk #mentalhealth #ITSOKAYTOTALK

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Luke founded Andy’s Man Club (@ANDYSMANCLUBUK) after his brother-in-law Andy committed suicide. The group focuses on removing the stigma for men to talk about mental health with the aim of halving the rate of male suicide by 2012. Luke started the worldwide trend, #ItsOkayToTalk, when he posted a photo of himself making an ‘ok’ symbol with his hands on Instagram. Each Monday, men’s groups meet in locations all over the North East of England to discuss mental health issues in a safe and welcoming place.

Elyse Fox (@elyse.fox)

#InspirationalQuote

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Elysewas inspired to created Sad Girls Club (@sadgirlsclubpbg) after struggling with depression in her own life. Based in Brooklyn, the organisation aims to inspire millennials worldwide to have more conversations about mental health. In real life, Sad Girls Club meets weekly in different locations across New York City. They welcome teens of all backgrounds, especially teens of colour, to share their journeys with mental health and get the resources they need.

Megan Jayne Crabbe0 (@bodyposipanda)

After suffering from an eating disorder, Megan now uses Instagram to document and celebrate her recovery. She regularly posts pictures of her healthy body to encourage others to feel comfortable in their own skin, as well as flashbacks to when she was suffering from her eating disorder, to show others that recovery is possible.

Leyah Shanks (@iamleyahshanks)

NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU YOU CAN'T BE EXACTLY WHO AND WHAT YOU WANT TO BE.

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Leyah is an activist and founder of the body confidence revolution. She was bullied from a young age and found herself disappointed by the images of beauty the media perpetuated, which inspired her to begin celebrating body diversity and put an end to body shaming.

Ashleigh Ponder (@Balancednotclean)

Same bircher muesli recipe as my post yesterday, using @theproteinworks protein bircher + @grenadeofficial fudge brownie shake – this time topped with @grazedotcom's banana bread punnet 💁 . Last night wasn't so great to be honest! I had. a good gym session with my friend but then afterwards I crashed, mentally especially. I don't talk about my fatigue a lot of the time because for me it's been a problem of varying degrees since the age of about 10, when I was diagnosed with CFS. My main problem in the last couple of years is that I try so hard to just keep going… and going… and going… because I'm honestly so afraid that I'll be bed bound like I was before. But, ironically, this kind of attitude means I push and push and push when really I should just stop. It's a painful balance to strike because I love being active, but I nearly always pay the price if I ever so slightly over step the mark. So while it may seem like I've got my routine perfectly sorted… I really don't. Many hours of my day, especially in the evening, are spent doing not very much at all other than feeling in a fog, just trying to mentally recharge my batteries. It's not as relaxing as it sounds and it really upsets me sometimes, because it's not what I want to be and it's not the impression people get of me normally. . Anyway… enough rambling. School!

A post shared by Ashleigh Ponder (@balancednotclean) on

Ashleigh uses Instagram to document her recovery from an eating disorder, as well as emphasising a healthy, flexible and fun relationship with food.

Connie  (@my_life_without_ana)

Connie uses Instagram as a helpful tool in recovering from anorexia and sending a message about body positivity. She shares her heartfelt and honest journey with her followers, and her posts about learning to love her body have resonated with many young women.

Brian H Whittaker  (@brianhwhittaker)

Change isn't bad when it's good change and it's great to make new friends! You can't evolve when you're staying the same!

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Brian is only 16 years old, but already has over a quarter million followers on Instagram. His Instagram following has grown excessively after being signed with Select model management, and he acknowledges the need to satisfy his followers, claiming they have helped him mentally. He’s spoken about not fitting in at school and loosing his confidence, which Instagram helped him battle by making friends and injecting positivity into his life. He has said he ‘really appreciates’ the positive comments he receives on Instagram, and regularly messages his followers.

Beckie Jane Brown (@BeckieJBrown)

Beckie battles depression and trichotillomania, where she is compelled to pull out all her hair. She uses Instagram to create more awareness for her disorder, and aims to bring hope to other sufferers around the world.

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