The first known use of the word influencer was in 1662. I looked that up on the Internet, but I trust it’s correct and find it auspicious that the place where I came across that fact is exactly where so many people, 360 years later, go for pretty much everything now. The internet is an amazing network that connects us to just about anything and allows us to communicate and receive information, ideas, assistance, research, news, and even physical things. And from so many people.
Some of those people today are called influencers. One definition of influencer that I found, also on the Internet, is “a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending it on social media.”
I can’t think of a more important “product” or “service” today, at a time when the world is in the grips of a mental health crisis, than good mental health support.
At ADAA, we work to provide support for people with depression, anxiety and other related disorders through evidence-based scientific research and treatment information, but we also share personal stories of those who have struggled and triumphed over these conditions.
Stories help us all connect. They create a sense of community and let those who are impacted know they are not alone. At ADAA, we have been sharing personal stories for years. But this year, for the first time ever, we leveraged the help of influencers to spread our message and increase awareness around various mental health issues and resources.
As we think about what we are grateful for, I want to personally thank all our mental health influencers. These generous people lend us their voices, their stories and experiences, and help us shed light on underreported issues like male body dysmorphia and the traumatic effects on the family and friends of a person who died by suicide. Some even use their incredible talents in sports to reach individuals around the world.
Their support, which helps us broaden our reach and works with us to break down stigma, story by story, is incredible. The impact they have is tremendous.
On behalf of our scientists, researchers, clinicians, students, and the millions of individuals whom we serve, thank you. You help make ADAA’s mission possible and this year you helped us save lives.