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“How Are You Really?” — The Campaign That’s Breaking the Mental Health Stigma

The internet is a place that could make or break any person! However, research suggests that it has led to an increase in depression, stress, and other mental health issues. One possible reason could be peer pressure on social media that adds to the stress of everyone. However, there have also been instances where the internet has come to the rescue of people. Random strangers on the internet became the shoulder to cry on and help them improve their mental health.

A lot of people are using the platform to create awareness, break the stigma, and support each other. The #HowAreYouReally challenge is one such campaign that’s been working on creating awareness and breaking the stigma.

What Is the How Are You Campaign?

The pandemic has seen a rise in the number of mental health issues across the world. One of the possible reasons for this is the stress of the virus spread. The other factors include the competition on social media to show that you have a perfect life in the lockdown. Not to forget all those people who are trying to make this a contest. While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to show off one’s achievements, it sure does have a negative effect and increases the peer pressure for success on others. However, the biggest problem is that of victims stuck with their abusers with no way out.

All these factors are surely increasing the number of people suffering from mental health issues. Not to mention, those already in therapy finding it difficult as they cannot meet their therapist during the lockdown. At this time of crisis, The Mental Health Coalition, Talk Life, and several other foundations have taken up the task of starting a dialogue. Tweeting with the hashtag, #howareyoureallychallenge, they’re trying to raise awareness about mental illness. The attempt is to help people break away from the false sense of perfection.

The Origin

Kenneth Cole, a famous fashion designer and the founder of The Mental Health Coalition, says that this is her attempt at destigmatizing mental health and creating a safe community. This campaign was kickstarted in the first week of May as May 18 to 20 is the World Mental Health Awareness Week. The campaign has a lot of prominent celebrities tweeting about their struggles during the lockdown, the trauma, and their mental health.

It encourages people to share their problems and talk about it rather than suffering in silence. Talking about real issues and reaching out for help is one way to build a positive support system.

Speaking about mental health will help break the stigma around it and make it easy for people to seek help. Given the numerous job loss, delay in graduation, and virus spread, more and more people will need a stronger emotional support group.

Who’s Talking About It?

A lot of celebrities, right, have been tweeting on this topic using the hashtag from across the world. Kenneth Cole, the ace fashion designer, was the first one to speak as he launched the #howareyoureally campaign. He went on to challenge a couple of celebrities like  Chris Cuomo, Michael Strahan, and Governor Andrew Cuomo. He asked them to be honest in answering the question on their mental health as he tagged them in this online “challenge.” The trend soon caught up, and each of these celebrities went on to tag their friends. The fans of these stars soon caught up on the trend, and people are discussing their challenges during this lockdown on social media platforms. At a distressing time like now, all we need is the support of each other to sail through!

While a lot of us might find it challenging to share and see it as a sign of weakness, experts call it the real strength. Mental health professionals believe that asking for help is the first step to finding a solution, and it takes a lot of courage to open up to others about your problems. So, remember you’re not alone in this. If there’s something that’s bothering you, talk it out to a loud one or tell the world about what’s bothering you. And don’t forget to ask your loved ones  #howareyoureally. After all, this is the time we need to be there for each other! So, let’s start asking questions that matter!

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