UPDATED 1/4/17: There has been some confusion about the End the Sigma page – I am not the creator, but after I published this blog, I was accepted as part of the Facebook and Twitter moderation team. Please direct any questions about the End the Stigma badges to the Facebook page!
A new Facebook page has been born, and already its effects are felt around the Facebook community. End The Stigma is a Facebook page created on January 1 and has rocketed to over 9000 likes in three days (as of this writing) and continues to climb through shares, comments, and likes on its beautiful images.
It means what it says: the goal of the page is to end the social stigma surrounding invisible illnesses, particularly mental diseases and neuro-divergent disorders, by creating and sharing square “badges” with the hashtags #endthestigma and #youarenotalone. Also included are #1in5 (referencing that one in five people will be diagnosed with a mental disorder at some point in their life).
According to the first post on Instagram, the founder Kat was inspired by Carrie Fisher and her mental health advocacy.
Hello, I am Kat. I personally have struggled with my mental health for many years. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I received my first official diagnoses, #bipolar 1 with traits of BPD. Almost 10 years later I still have frequent struggles in maintaining my mental health. When @carriefisherofficial passed, I was heartbroken. Leia was my childhood hero, and Carrie’s outspokenness about her own struggles with Bipolar made her my adult hero as well. I decided it was my turn to step up, and make any increase I could in mental health advocacy. I never imagined that my small post on Facebook would grow by thousands. You are all strong, and you are all brave. Thank you for being a part of #endingthestigma #endthestigma #mentalhealthawareness #1in5 #youarenotalone #endthestigmabadges
After a terrible 2016 for mental illnesses (politics, shootings, stabbings, and court cases all vilified or laughed at people with mental disorders), we need this. We need to stand up all around our family and friends and declare that mental hospitals aren’t fodder for Halloween scares, that not everyone who is depressed is a school shooter, that PTSD happens a lot to veterans but can happen to rape victims, crime victims, and after other traumatic events too.
Let’s start off 2017 by showing our scars in the most vunerable way possible – by broadcasting it on social media and having brave conversations with families, friends, and strangers.
You can find my personal story on the End The Stigma page along with my 8-badge image and an older photo of me.