Jessica Walsh, a New York-based designer, has launched Let's Talk About Mental Health, an Instagram account that shares honest and heartbreaking stories around mental illness.
Walsh set up the project for people to "read these stories and realise they are not alone, and that it’s OK."
Walsh shared her own story with BuzzFeed:
When I was younger I suffered from anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. Like many others, I almost died from the stigmas surrounding mental health issues. I was ashamed of what I was experiencing as I knew these issues were taboo, so I tried to hide them. As a result the issues compounded and I became suicidal.
Walsh began to talk more openly about her mental health and embarked on a project called 12 Kinds of Kindness. For 12 months, Walsh and her creative partner Timothy Goodman set out to become more open and empathetic people through various challenges.
One of the 12 steps is called: "Don't Beat Yourself Up" and it's designed to encourage people to talk about their regrets and their past struggles.
Walsh wrote about the pressures she experienced as a kid, her eating disorders and how she regained control over her life.
It was very difficult writing down my story. It's been over a decade since I've recovered and I have for the most part kept my past struggles a secret. For a while I feared what friends, co-workers, or colleagues would think of me if anyone found out. Eventually I realized that these secrets were holding power over me. Writing them felt like a huge relief, and releasing my story has felt completely freeing.
Since Walsh started talking about her mental health she's had "many friends, colleagues and even clients open up about their own past issues".
Walsh also explained that she chose Instagram as a platform for talking about mental health because it would distract from the social media site's "focus on beauty, the creation of unrealistic standard and its vapidness."
"People spend hours stylizing themselves or curating their breakfast tables to get a perfect shot in order to get more followers. I am just as guilty of this as anyone else," Walsh shared.
Walsh hopes that people will connect with the stories on her Instagram as they are "honest and unfiltered".
To help Walsh fight mental health stigma visit her website.