People living with mental illness and other medical conditions that aren’t always visible to others are fighting to #EndTheStigma through social media.
The campaign started when mental health advocate Kat Selwyn Layton created a few bold badges and posted them to her personal Facebook page on December 30.
Just a week later, what started as badges with declarative statements on a 28-year-old’s Facebook page has now turned into a viral campaign that is sweeping the Internet.
Each #EndTheStigma badge makes a statement about mental health, with the intention of breaking the silence surrounding often misunderstood experiences.
The goal is to tackle shame head-on, by talking about what it’s like to live with an invisible illness, condition or disorder. Layton hopes the badges will help to remind others that they’re not alone in their battle.
Layton now has a collection of various badges, and has even begun creating badges by request. Her hope is to represent a wide spectrum of experiences for anyone who wants to advocate for their conditions.
Having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder almost 10 years ago, Layton says she was inspired to start the campaign following the death of actress Carrie Fisher on December 27. The Hollywood starlet who was best known for her role as Princess Leia in Star Wars was a fierce advocate for the mental health community. She often vocalized her own battles with bipolar disorder, and bravely paved the way for discussions to be had about mental health.
Layton encourages people to use the campaign badges as their profile picture, or make a collage of several badges if they live with multiple conditions.
“I want the badges to start a conversation, make everyone feel a part of something and help them brave the path to ending stigma,” she explains.
Using the hashtag #EndTheStigma, people all over social media are excitedly sharing the badges to help end the silence that plagues mental health and invisible disorders.
“Just because an illness is often invisible, it doesn’t mean your battle should go unrecognized,” Layton writes. “Be proud of your accomplishments. Be proud of your fight. Be proud of your survival.”
To learn more, and see what other badges Kat is cooking up, visit the EndTheStigma Facebook page.