#MyFavoriteMeds Hashtag Fights Psychiatric Medication Stigma

By Bryan Le 12/27/18

People who rely on medication to keep their mental health in check sometimes experience judgment from others, but this social media movement is trying to change that.

woman about to take her psychiatric medication

People who take pills for their mental health sometimes are chastised for pumping themselves full of unnatural chemicals in a last-ditch effort to hold themselves together.

In truth, the pills can save those who take them. It’s yet another facet of mental health stigma that needs fighting, and the Instagram hashtag #MyFavoriteMeds is doing its part by giving users the opportunity to reflect on the positive impact these medications have had on their lives.

The hashtag was started by Jen Gotch, who hosts a podcast about mental health called Jen Gotch is OK… Sometimes, after she posted a photo of a pill sitting in her open palm. Fellow podcaster Georgia Hardstark, who co-hosts My Favorite Murder, followed suit and posted a photo of her own hand full of the mental health pills she takes. 

“Good morning from my crew. (Effexor & Wellbutrin) Inspired by @jengotch,” Hardstark captioned her post. “Show me yours, hashtag #myfavoritemeds (credit to @graceisgold). #hardstarking”

Fans of the MFM podcast picked up on the hashtag and the movement took off. With the hashtag taking over in an online public space, Gotch and Hardstark hope to make others who also rely on such drugs feel safe to speak about it. Otherwise, those who really need these medications may hesitate to seek out a prescription because they feel ashamed and alone.

“Taking medication for mental health has always been a normal thing amongst my family and friends, so I sometimes forget that it's a taboo subject for so many people,” Hardstark told Bustle. “As soon as I saw Jen Gotch's post showing her medication it hit me what a simple but powerful message it was to just say 'I need a little help and I'm not ashamed of it.'”

The “little help” the medications provide isn’t the whole solution, but it can be a critical component of some mental health treatment plans.

“Medication is not a cure all. It's important to have a holistic approach to your personal and mental wellness,” said Gotch. “But for those of us that suffer and are committed to doing everything we can to feel good, it is a vital part of the equation. Treating your mental illness is a major responsibility that should be approached with self awareness, emotional intelligence, knowledge, and qualified professional help.”

The #MyFavoriteMeds hashtaggers want to push the message that medications aren’t a last ditch, desperate attempt to treat mental health issues by a weak person but an equally viable treatment used in tandem with therapies and lifestyle changes.

“I think it's important to let people know that having your shit together isn't an easy thing, and attempting to make your life better through pharmaceuticals is something that demonstrates self-care, not weakness,” Hardstark shared. “I've read so many of the posts from the hashtag and it just fills me with hope, which is hard to come by these days.”

Lately, many high-profile people with platforms have spoken out about their own struggles to fight the stigma that surrounds mental health. Ellen DeGeneres recently spoke about her fight with depression on the podcast Armchair Expert. Comedian Pete Davidson also has been candid about his own issues, and rapper Lil Xan publicly shared that he was going to rehab.

Please read our comment policy. - The Fix

Bryan Le grew up in the 90's, so the Internet is practically his third parent. This combined with a love for journalism led him to The Fix. When he isn't fulfilling his duties as Editorial Coordinator, he's obsessing over fancy keyboards he can't justify buying. Find Bryan on LinkedIn or Twitter