Instagram may not seem like a place to go for help, but Peter Marin, a senior majoring in business administration, is looking to change that.
Marin’s own struggle with depression inspired him to create “I Got Better,” an Instagram page devoted to sharing stories of those dealing with mental illnesses. Marin said he started “I Got Better” because he saw a need for a dedicated space on social media for people to share genuine, inspiring posts.
He has reached out to many people asking them to share their stories, welcoming people to submit their stories along with a photo that shows them happy and hopeful after overcoming their challenges.
“I think just hearing their stories and what helped them was very inspiring for me,” Marin said. “I’m no professional, but I wanted to do my part and do something to inspire people and help them out.”
Marin said the extremely curated nature of social media platforms can have dangerous implications for mental health.
“Social media is something that creates a fantasy world where everything seems perfect,” he said. “You don’t know the full story.”
At the time of publication, “I Got Better” had over 300 followers on Instagram and Marin is actively reaching out to people to collect more stories. Marin said he hopes to see the platform grow, and plans to release an accompanying website in the near future. He said he wants “I Got Better” to serve as a safe area where people can share and discuss their struggles, while providing hope to those who are going through similar problems.
“It’s about creating a community where people can be supportive of one another, where people can express their own stories,” Marin said. “I think using social media to promote mental health awareness is definitely beneficial because it helps erase the stigma that’s present today of the mental health community.”
Despite the hope he believes “I Got Better” can provide to those going through dark times, Marin stresses that he doesn’t want the Instagram page to become a substitute for receiving professional help. If people are experiencing depression or any other mental illness, he encourages them to seek professional advice first.
Marin expressed hope that “I Got Better” will help followers get through difficult days.
“I think this is more of a resource for people, if they had a bad day or they just want to see other people’s stories and get inspiration from them,” Marin said. “They can use the page as a resource to see that they’re not alone and things do get better.”