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Whether you love or loathe social media and memes, you can’t deny that they can be very powerful. When used for good, they can raise awareness about important issues—like mental health, something that's relevant in all of our lives.

That’s where ‘How Mental’ comes in. It’s a charity, app, and social media project that touches on important mental health issues with the help of memes, webcomics, and witty videos. We’ve collected some of the top images from their Instagram account to remind everyone that self-care should always be a priority. Scroll down for some truly relatable memes.

We reached out to the founder and CEO of ‘How Mental,’ George Taktak, and he was happy to tell us all about the project, raising awareness about mental health, and what to do when someone’s struggling. You’ll find Bored Panda’s full interview with him below.

More info: Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | HowMental.com | App

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Christy Prater
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Wow... I didn't realize how much I needed to read that until I did. Thank you, BP!

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Depression and anxiety are very common in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 21 million American adults have had at least one major depressive episode in their lives. That’s 8.3% of all adults in the country. Meanwhile, over 40 million (nearly 1 in 5) adults in the US have an anxiety disorder. 

‘How Mental’ is a project that’s dedicated to promoting mental health. “We are proud to call ourselves mental health advocates,” the team behind the project writes on Facebook. “There is no limit to the possibilities of things we can do to improve the world’s mental health & wellbeing,” they share on their website.

The project has 783k followers on Instagram, 1.5k on Twitter, and 8.4k on Facebook. ‘How Mental’ combines important social questions—taking care of one’s mental health—and spreads the word about it with the help of memes and spot-on social media posts. Many of them are very relatable.

George, the founder of ‘How Mental,’ has been working in the mental health sector for over a decade, building innovative technology to help people’s wellbeing.

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“Then, about 6 years ago, a friend of mine approached me and said, 'George, I'm feeling really depressed. What should I do? Where should I go? Should I just go on this ancient-looking charity's website?' It stopped me in my tracks and made me realize that no matter how much support is out there, most people don't know where it is, don't know what's right for their mind, and don't want to engage with these old charities, they're too clinical, not relatable and make us feel 'less than'!” he told Bored Panda about the roots of the project.

“So I got angry about it! There was clearly a gap between people and mental health support. And so I started How Mental, initially on Instagram, now on our website www.howmental.com to bring together the world of mental health/wellbeing support in one place and make sure support is accessible to people around the world.”

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Flora Wolfe
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

... answering an email, answering the phone, answering the door, answering a text, waiting on delivery, waiting on a package.... drugs. I mean prescription medication. Ironically though, you have to get over this fight or flight response several times just to get to a doctor to get the drugs lol

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However, George pointed out that accessibility is more than just having access to support: it’s about making mental health relatable, engaging, and even fun.

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“Just like we go to the gym and try to stay healthy for our bodies, why not do the same for our minds? And thankfully, there are plenty of ways to take care of our mental health that don't involve breaking a sweat,” the founder of ‘How Mental’ told us via email.

Bored Panda was interested in getting George’s take on what can be done to raise awareness about mental health. He told us that everything starts by understanding and advocating for your own mental health.

“We all have a mind and everything around us (and inside us!) affects our wellbeing. Don't make this cause about other people just because they have a diagnosable condition. Everyone has their own unique 'mental condition,’ so start with you! What do you need for your wellbeing from your school, work, or government?”

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He also suggested finding some humor in the topic as a whole. “Mental health, like anything else, can be pretty dark at times. We need to find the levity in it. Humor allows us to process difficult things. Yes, life can be tragic, but it's also pretty funny when we take a step back and that's equally valid.”

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On top of that, George urged everyone to continuously take care of themselves and the people around them. “Put the effort in to ask people how they're doing and really mean it, community is an invaluable resource for ourselves and everyone else. And, when it comes to you, check in and take care of yourself every day, don't wait for things to get bad! We actually have an app called 'How Are We' that helps with tracking our feelings and taking care of our wellbeing together.”

According to the founder of ‘How Mental,’ some people still consider mental health issues taboo out of fear. “People think they might actually be 'crazy' or have the propensity to 'go crazy'. They're scared that they might have lost grip or may lose grip on reality so they prefer to shun it. People also prefer to present an air of strength and infallibility. That they could never be weak or vulnerable. It's an unhelpful kind of 'survival' mechanism, a kind of 'posturing,'” he explained to Bored Panda.

“The truth is, we are vulnerable, we all question our reality, we are all constantly changing our minds. In fact, it's healthy to do that. People stuck in a certain frame of mind may be more likely to suffer mentally,” he said.

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“Finally, people have a particular perception of those with diagnosable mental health conditions as 'ill, 2nd class citizens, not fit to work, perhaps even unable to find a partner' so people fear that... But mental conditions are just conditions. They're not life sentences for those who receive a diagnosis. They are open to change. And, in any case, they are not to be judged by others”

Meanwhile, George was kind enough to shed some light on another important question and gave some practical advice for anyone who is currently struggling with their mental health.

“Personally, I didn't see depression coming. So, my first piece of advice would be to get real about how you feel and monitor your mental wellbeing continuously. Use 'How Are We.’ Don't wait for things to get bad!” he said.

“Having said that, if you are struggling right now: Get support. Don't wait for things to get better on their own—that may or may not happen. Take control. You have the power to get what you need. If you need to talk to a friend about what's going on: Call them. If you think a diagnosis might be helpful: Reach out to a doctor. And, if you're not sure what you need, that's OK too!”

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I'M A SHOUTY MAN (they/she/he)
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Oh this is so true. Like yeah, they love me - I get good grades, I'm pretty good at my hobbies, that's good. Oh, no, they definitely hate me - I'm recovering from sh and attempts, I have a pretty bad ed, my mental health is absolutely terrible, I have no friends and wow audhd on top of that, how great!

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VonBlade
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

But the benefit of the first idea is being able to fix all the mistakes with the knowledge of experience. You can't just pretend to remember not to clean the guttering on thursday when you're 52.

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George pointed out that ‘How Mental’ has lots of ideas for how to care for your mind on their social media accounts, as well as their website. Anyone can go take a peek. “Discover what's out there and get to know yourself. Simple questions like asking yourself, 'How are you feeling?', 'what do you want right now?', then 'Why do you want that?' and 'How can you help yourself?' Remember you don't have to do this alone, if you're scared at any point in your journey, reach out for help. We are a global community of human beings. There are people who care out there, I promise,” the founder gave some great advice.

We were also curious to get George’s take on when it’s best for someone to reach out to a mental health professional for help. “If you're not feeling like yourself and finding that you're unable to help yourself feel better in a real, sustained way: Reach out to a therapist. They're basically like a friend who is super clued up on how the mind works, with whom you don't have to feel guilty for just talking about yourself and saying how you really feel the whole time,” he said, stressing the fact that therapy isn’t just for the times when things get really bad.

“Think of it as a space to reflect on your life with the help of someone else. I mean, who doesn't want that? And if you don't want it because you're scared of what might come out, it's probably just what you need! Start by learning about the different types of therapy that are out there. Then, once you're more aware, if you feel a pull towards one of them, go for it! Finding the right kind of therapy and the right therapist is essential to making progress.”

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Lil Miss Hobbit
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is me. But let me encourage anyone who is going through this...it gets easier. It won't define you forever. You are just beginning to discover how beautiful you are free and unburdened. You really can, and will, be truly happy. You can, and will, make meaningful relationships. You can, and will, learn to love yourself the way you need to. Never give up.

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Tempest
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3 months ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Was having an argument in public with an ex and I was bawling my eyes out. Didn’t have any tissues so was wiping my tears on my sweater. A random stranger sitting nearby randomly offered me some tissues and I immediately started crying even harder at how kind this random stranger was to me (while my ex was just screaming at me the whole time, not helping at all). It’s forever going to be some random act of kindness I’ll remember.

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However, George pointed out that all of this is easier said than done. After all, therapy isn’t financially accessible to everyone. “But in the case you're reaching out to publicly funded mental health support, it's even more important you reach out sooner rather than later so you can get on their waiting list as soon as possible,” he said.

“How Mental is only a small charity but we do a lot of work to help millions of people around the world take care of their mind! If you want to donate or support our work, please go to our site and connect with us via our Contact form! We're also running free events called 'Mental Space' for Students, Educators, Parents/Carers, and Health/Social Workers as part of our mission to improve wellbeing for generations to come. So, if that's right for you, come on down! And share the events with anyone else they might help.”

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DC
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Both? You could love yourself for understanding quadratic equationry, even. I'd consider it a win-win. But then again - it's school. Don't expect too much, but expect a disapointment.

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Burnout, chronic exhaustion, depression, anxiety, phobias—these are issues that many people deal with in their lives. And though awareness of mental health issues is definitely increasing these days, for some people, it’s still a taboo topic. Opening up about struggles, going to therapy, and talking about self-care is still something that some folks avoid doing because they see it as a sign of ‘weakness.’

It’s because the topic is still taboo for some that projects like ‘How Mental’ are so important. They bring the discussion about mental health to people’s social media feeds. They also add a comedic but relatable twist when they choose to tackle these issues in the form of memes. That way, the message ends up reaching more people.

Therapy should not be seen as something taboo or shameful. It’s important to recognize that seeking a mental health professional’s advice is not a sign that you’re ‘weak.’ Everyone, no matter how tough they are, needs support from time to time. As we’ve covered on Bored Panda recently, for instance, people with phobias need to reach out to a mental health professional if their fear becomes so intense that it causes anxiety and panic attacks.

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VonBlade
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'm good at anxiety in the way McDonalds are good at haute cuisine. Yeah I've got loads of it but none of it is any good.

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Professionals who specialize in anxiety disorders, for example, can offer a wide range of treatments for their patients, whether that’s cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, or even medication.

The important thing here is to recognize that these professionals will not judge you for your struggles: they have a lot of experience, they’ve seen it all, and they’ll be very empathetic.

However, at the same time, it’s pretty critical to understand that not every therapist is going to be a good fit for every patient, and vice versa. Sometimes, their personalities or backgrounds simply aren’t a good match. That’s why patients should never feel guilty about asking to see another specialist if they feel like their needs aren’t being met.

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JoMeBee
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

And of all else fails then there's the magical replay button in my brain that will find every past instance of hurt feelings...

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Binky Melnik
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Um, if your mental health is affecting your physical health, I’d don’t think you need to pretend as if you’re sick; you ARE sick. Do as this post suggests and heal yourself up as best you can!

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VonBlade
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Damn I got distracted and missed the line. Okay let's rewind. Argh I did it again. Just stop and listen this time. Rewind.

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Of course, this doesn’t mean that a therapist should mollycoddle their patients. A huge part of their jobs is helping others see their lives from different perspectives. This involves looking at both subtle and harsh truths, as well as dealing with lots of uncomfortable emotions.

Therapy does not mean telling a patient how wonderful they are all the time. It’s about helping them solve their issues and improving their quality of life by giving them the emotional tools to handle tough situations.

Aside from therapy, self-care is all about nurturing relationships, eating well, getting plenty of exercise, as well as spending time away from tech and out in nature. On top of that, what really helps is if you find purpose in what you do, whether that's your job, a fun hobby, or volunteering.

How do you ensure that you take care of your mental health, Pandas? Which of these memes did you resonate with the most? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

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OsoPanda (she/her/they/them)
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Oh my god!! Seriously though, I avoided the bullimia subject for her (my therapist) not to tell my parents, recently I told her everything and that I lost 9,5kg in three weeks and in less than half an hour she told my parents and started contacting specialists. I'm still pissed that she told them.

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Angi
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So true the world could be on fire and my husband would just keep calmly snacking and watch it burn.

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OsoPanda (she/her/they/them)
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I've literally had two good days this month, two days in which I was not brought down by the bullimia, the depression or the anxiety, by the end of the day I was still exhausted, but those have been one of the best days of my life

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Upstaged75
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Or you could just be like me and fall asleep the couch every night, then wake up at 4am and stumble to your bed like a zombie.

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VonBlade
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Because I can share my coping mechanisms. Make something useful out of my existence.

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Flora Porter
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3 months ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Maybe if you're under 35ish. The most frightening and at the same time freeing thing about middle age is realising no one probably even notices.

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Note: this post originally had 104 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.