When it seems like everyone is living a picture-perfect life, admitting you're struggling feels like utter failure. But more people than you think—millions, in fact—are working through mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Celebrities like Lena Dunham and the Duchess of Cambridge have spoken out about the need to end the stigma associated with mental illness, and the tide is changing.
The blogs and projects below are going one step further to bring the (hard-to-have) conversation to light. On them, you'll find everything from candid personal stories to photos that prove you're not alone in your issues and insecurities.
Please note: We know the number of topics that fall under the umbrella of mental health is massive; as such, this is not an exhaustive list of the only blogs worth following. If there are other voices you feel we should know about, please give us a shout on Twitter.
You won't find your average long-form blog posts here—just incredibly powerful visuals. What I Be Project is a photo series and blog created to help people not feel ashamed of their differences. Photographer Steve Rosenfield takes pictures of people who reveal and write their biggest insecurity (be it a mental illness, physical issue, or other trait) on their bodies and then pose for the camera to share it with the world.
After visiting one anxiety forum after another, U.K. native Claire Eastham became fed up with the negative conversations surrounding anxiety and depression. So on her personal blog, she tries to be as useful and positive as possible to give hope that these things can be managed—and to remind you that yes, other people also feel the pressure to be happy too. She writes about everything from overcoming obstacles that sabotage goals to her experience as an introvert. Before taking her advice, however, remember that she's speaking from personal experience (and is not a licensed expert).
Jessica Walsh is a graphic designer living in New York. After sharing her personal struggle and history with anxiety, depression, and eating disorders as part of a project entitled 12 Kinds of Kindness, she received messages from friends and colleagues regarding their own mental health battles. Now she's created the blog Let's Talk About Mental Health, where readers can submit their own stories. She turns them into beautiful graphics that she ultimately posts on Instagram.
Tina Klaus and her therapist, Michael Maley, Ph.D., co-founded the blog Don't Live Small, where they post about their work together: Klaus struggles with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Dr. Maley is a licensed psychologist specializing in the treatment of "people with eating disorders, body-image issues, and survivors of trauma, abuse, and neglect." (He's also in recovery from an eating disorder.) His column, The Doc's In, covers topics like blame and accountability as well as relapse.
The Span of My Hips is a feminist blog that focuses on topics of mental health and empowerment, particularly body image. From why you don't need an excuse to take care of yourself to simple PSAs that remind you how wonderful and worthy you are, many posts will put some serious pep in your step. While the author doesn't reveal a lot about herself, she does mention that she's a "queer-ish white lady from Canada" who holds a master's degree "focused on the intersections of mental health, physical health, and policy." Just be prepared for potentially polarizing posts on topics like sexual abuse and the criminal justice system.
Jeremy Dean holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University College London and is the founder and author of PsyBlog. Dean began the blog in 2004 because he felt there was nowhere you could find an easy, readable translation of the latest scientific findings related to psychology. He explores a wide range of topics to help readers better understand the way they think and feel, such as the link between brain function and what we eat and how our childhood affects our happiness in later in life.
Time to Change is a British campaign with a mission to end the stigma surrounding mental health by starting a conversation around it. The blog portion of the website features personal stories, like this one by Ilona on changing attitudes around eating disorders and this one by Irum, which addresses the importance of the language we use to talk about mental health.
Inspired by the lack of diversity in the media's representation of mental illness, Dior Vargas, a self-proclaimed "Latina feminist and mental-health activist" started the People of Color & Mental Illness Photo Project. She hopes readers experiencing similar struggles will see someone who looks more like them—and that they will no longer feel alone.