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Although social media gives people around the world a way to connect, it’s not always beneficial to mental health. Seeing the highlight reel of everyone else’s life can make a person feel left out or envious. Some studies even seem to link a decline in teen mental health to an increase in social media use.
How can influencers use their platforms to help? Here are some tips on using mental health influencer marketing to make a difference.

Be Real

Spend a few minutes on social media and you might find yourself under the impression that everyone’s life is better than your own. Influencers often look gorgeous, wealthy and always on the move.
Photo and video editing techniques allow influencers to mask their true appearance. A little editing can make a person appear taller, thinner, tanner and more muscular. This often leads audiences to set unrealistic beauty standards for themselves and those around them.
Ask influencers to keep photo edits to a minimum. This can teach followers — particularly young and impressionable followers — to embrace physical imperfections. It’s also important for influencers to be real in terms of their personal shortcomings. Authentic influencers are willing to share their failures and struggles, rather than attempt to present themselves as perfect or their lives as idyllic.

Destigmatize Mental Illness

Social media stars can use their platforms to destigmatize mental illness. Influencers don’t need to be experts in psychology. They simply need to be willing to share personal stories about their own battles with mental illness. A number of celebrities, ranging from Chrissy Teigen and Dwayne Johnson to Chris Evans and Kid Cudi, have been candid about their struggles. Social media influencers of all levels of fame can take that same level of initiative.
Not only does this reinforce the idea that no one’s perfect, it also helps influencers come across as more relatable. Followers who struggle with similar challenges will feel a little less alone and more confident in their own ability to succeed.

Point to the Experts

Although influencers don’t need to be experts to share their personal stories, it’s always wise to amplify expert voices when possible. After sharing a personal anecdote about mental illness, an influencer can explain how and where people with similar struggles can find help. Influencers can also help raise money for mental health organizations, casting a spotlight on professional services.
As a brand, you can also choose to work directly with influencers who are experts in the mental health field. Mental health influencers include individuals like psychiatrists, therapists and researchers who are willing to share their knowledge on social media.

Normalize Kindness

Teens and adults know that social media isn’t always the kindest place. From belittling comments to blunt insults, it’s easy to find examples of willfully hurtful comments online.
Influencers can help set a better tone by being good role models. Partner with an influencer who can entertain followers without being a bully, and demonstrate assertiveness without being aggressive. Influencers can also model positive behavior by giving sincere compliments, listening to others and staying humble. By doing so, they encourage their followers to adopt similar traits. The result is a kinder online world.
While you’re marketing your brand, make it your mission to look after the mental health of your audience. With the right influencers, you can push an encouraging message and help people connect in positive ways.