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Social distancing while staying connected for better mental health

Instagram and NAMI promote good mental health
Instagram unveils new 'Stories' feature
Posted at 7:10 AM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 14:20:34-04

BALTIMORE, Md. — Stress, anxiety, and loneliness are just a few of the emotions many people are experiencing these days.

These factors brought two organizations together while many people are staying apart from others.

The pandemic has changed our daily routines and trying to create a new normal can be difficult not only for our physical health but mental health as well.

Even though so many people are staying home during the pandemic, the higher-ups at Instagram can attest social distancing hasn't brought an end to socializing.

Instagram Head of Global Policy Carolyn Merrell said "we see a lot of people turning to social media during this time to find support, to try to connect with people."

The Chief Medical Officer of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Dr. Ken Duckworth points out that making those connections in a time of social distancing can be difficult for some.

"NAMI prefers to think of it as physical distancing because we have to stay away from each other, but social connectedness. Isolation is hard on people, and it is hard on people who live with pre-existing psychiatric vulnerabilities, which is one out of every five Americans," Duckworth said.

The need to keep our distance from others brought NAMI and Instagram together.

The creative minds at the social networking platform took NAMI's knowledge about mental health and produced a colorful easy to understand guide for young people and put it right in the palm of their hands on Instagram

"This is important because three-quarters of all mental health problems occur before age 25, and people who have mental health vulnerabilities are going to experience the anxiety that is across the country in a more intensive way," Duckworth said.

The partnership between Instagram and NAMI presents a series of tips and activities to promote good mental health.

"We're also doing a series of Instagram lives, with NAMI experts and then community leaders who these young people really look up to and find validation from. So, it's really important for us to meet them where they are and do a series of live conversations," Merrell said.

The effort is designed to help people become more connected at a time when they might feel more isolated than ever.

Anyone who feels the pandemic is taking a toll on the ability to maintain good mental health can call the NAMI Hotline for someone to talk with, 1-800-950-NAMI.

Find NAMI on Instagram at @namicommunicate.