Mental health activists call on Instagram to stop censoring healed self-harm scars

#IAmNotDisturbing, a petition calling on Instagram to stop censoring posts containing healed self-harm scars, has reached 4,000 signatures.

Usually, Instagram is notorious for lowering users’ self-esteem as they compare their lives to the curated highlights of others’.

For the mental health recovery community, however, this is not the case.

In this corner of Instagram, users show their highs and lows: they celebrate one another’s small victories (or ‘recovery wins’) and provide a shoulder to cry on in harder times. 

It is a community which, for the most part, offers support and mutual understanding, as well as raising awareness of more taboo mental health issues.

The majority of its users are recovering from one or multiple mental illnesses, including eating disorders, personality disorders, and depression.

As part of their journey to recovery, those who have previously struggled with self-injury often post photos of themselves, which naturally include their healed scars. 

They do not post these to glorify their illness or encourage others to replicate their actions, rather to show that it is possible to accept the past and move on.

However, many users have found these posts either marked as ‘sensitive’ or removed entirely, prompting them to question why they are being tarnished with the same brush as those seeking to promote mental illness.

The petition was started by Tilly Bolton, 19, and her friend Rose Lidgely, 25.

Tilly has struggled with mental health issues for six years.

She set up her recovery account, @tillys.brain, to support others and educate the wider public on more taboo aspects of mental health. 

“It takes a lot for us to be proud of our scars, because every day just going out in public we get people staring and pointing,” she added.

“We face enough stigma and shame in our day-to-day lives and we come to Instagram to create this safe space and we can’t even have that.

“We can’t change anything and they’re just adding to the stigma.”

We also spoke to Lauren and Sarah who were also affected by this censorship.

Read the full story here.

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