Voices That Matter: Meet the Top Mental Health Influencers Online Today
While over the years, there have been many developments in the way information is shared among different groups of people, there have been certain topics that have been harder to reach the surface than others. Mental health has been of those topics that have presented challenges when discussed openly among different age groups, primarily due to a lack of credible sources and competing theories.
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However, since before the pandemic and well throughout, there have been true leaders and advocates who have emerged, sharing their personal, thought-provoking experiences regarding topics that years ago were thought to be too taboo or, at the very best, “uncomfortable” to discuss in public forums. But battling through this discomfort, these influencers have paved the way to normalizing important conversations with the masses about their mental health and overall well-being.
With their strong social followings and engaging content, these self-made personal health promoters have become a beacon of hope for many suffering conditions in silence and have proven to be incredibly influential across both medical and social platforms.
As a research professor at the University of Houston, Brené Brown is a highly recognizable face when it comes to mental health awareness and transparency. Over the last 20 years, Brené has focused her profession on studying and openly discussing important issues related to inner vulnerability, shaming, courage, and empathy. She has written numerous best-selling self-help and mental health guidebooks and has been featured in a number of prominent publications, including the New York Times and The Oprah Magazine. One of her TED talks, “The Power of Vulnerability,” has reached viral status and is now one of the top five most viewed in the world. Brené currently hosts over 4.6 million followers on Instagram, and every one of her posts receives an average of 39,000 likes and 225 comments.
Matthias J. Barker
Matthias J. Barker is a 32-year-old psychotherapist and TikTok star based in Nashville, TN, who gained notoriety through his young, insightful, and relatable discussions surrounding difficult topics such as childhood trauma, marital issues, entertainment addictions, and mental health disorders. Mathias has developed a series of video-guided workshops that help both young and older audiences manage their internal conflicts while also providing a safe space for learning and growth. Matthias has brought his message to millions of people around the world, both through his TikTok account and personal website. Mathias is considered a viral spokesperson on TikTok, gaining 2.5 million followers who enjoy the calming demeanor and soft lighting he uses in each of his short discussions. Since his rise in popularity, Mathias has also launched a highly-reviewed podcast where he helps his listeners take progressive, rational steps despite their internal struggles.
Jay Shetty is a British New York Times best-seller author and a number one health podcast life coach with a unique story to tell. Jay became a monk at 21 years of age after being inspired about others’ journey of choosing a service-focused life and moving towards self-growth. After a period of time, Jay left discipline and used what he learned to improve all of his relationships in his life while continuously using the tools he learned to help others overcome various struggles in their life. Jay is now an award winning storyteller, podcast host, and viral content creator who has been seen in numerous conventions, TED talks, and events around the world. His videos have been downloaded and viewed billions of times across Facebook, YouTube, and other platforms. Jay maintains over 26 million Facebook followers and over 6 million Instagram followers, all eager to hear what he has to say about living a meaningful, purpose-driven life.
Dr. Courtney Tracy
Dr. Courtney Tracy is a multi-award-winning content creator, licensed clinical social worker, and doctor of clinical psychiatry based in California. Known passionately in all of her social circles as “The Truth Doctor,” Courtney talks to her audience about how the body and mind work together and how being vulnerable can help people to overcome their struggles and get the most out of life. As a walking example of how a positive mental attitude can help with both personal and professional growth, Courtney also helps her audience understand the importance of authenticity and self-compassion in order to move forward and create better career opportunities, stronger relationships, and a better quality of life. Currently serving on the Exectuve Board of Directors for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and a member of other non-profit organizations, Courtney is dedicated to helping all 1.7 million of her followers and subscribers become equipped with the tools they need to maintain balanced expectations from themselves and their those around them.
Jessica Clemons, also known as Dr. Jess, is prominent influencer who has focused her attention on mental health awareness, specifically in the Black community. Jessica has been featured on multiple media outlets including Forbes and CBS This Morning and serves as a host of The Black Girl Bravado Podcast where she speaks primarily to other Black women on important topics like mental health medication, therapeutic methodologies, self-healing, and collective growth. Jessica has moved on to create a series of televised therapy sessions where she’s invited known celebrities and music professionals to help normalize conversations about mental health for anyone who is watching. She now has over 100,000 followers collectively across all of her social channels and continues to achieve her goal of creating a space where everyone feels safe being vulnerable and receives the help they need without judgment.
Kelly Uchima is a social media influencer who has become a voice for all struggling with eating disorders, addiction, and the emotional and psychological trauma associated with these conditions. She also speaks openly about her own battle with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) as well as her own struggles with anorexia at the age of 10. Battling her addictions for over 20 years has made her a strong advocate for mental and physical health awareness and she has created a platform to share her story with others. Kelly now hosts a popular podcast called “Therapy Thursday” where she helps those suffering from depression, family trauma, and toxic relationships manage their stress in healthier ways while avoiding dangerous bad habits and destructive behavior. Kelly maintains hundreds of thousands of followers on her own social platforms while continuously being invited to share her thoughts and perspectives with large publications and online media outlets.
Yolo Akili is a well-known, award-winning, non binary writer who for over 20 years has focused his life on teaching mental health literacy to Black communities as well as many other diverse groups. As the founder and Executive Director of BEAM (the Black Emotional and Mental Health Collective), Yolo continuously leads discussions on tough issues, including anger management, HIV/AIDS case management, gender identity conflicts, and behavioral health interventions. Yolo was featured at the 2020 BET Awards highlighting the important work he has done as the Executive Director of BEAM, and he frequents several universities, colleges, and conferences around the country sharing keynote speeches and panels on mental health. Yolo has amassed tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and Twitter, and is continuously featured on prominent publications such as USA Today, Vice, Ebony, GQ, and Women’s Health.
Marcus Bridgewater, also known as “Garden Marcus,” is a CEO, author, creator, and influencer who offers workshops, presentations, and life coaching to help individuals and organizations create positive change around the world. Marcus released his first book in May of 2022 called “How to Grow: Nurture Your Garden, Nurture Yourself,” which immediately rose as a best selling guide to creating a more productive and fulfilled life while using powerful gardening metaphors that has labeled Marcus as a “plantfluencer.” Marcus has hundreds of thousand followers on Instagram and TikTok where he shares not only real gardening tips, but also provides insight into the importance of self-care, mindfulness and living in alignment with his readers own personal values.
Influencers Continue To Play An Important Role In Mental Health Awareness and Recovery
The speed at which technology shifts and the never ending accessibility of content sharing has placed a significant responsibility on certain influencers around the world. While many mental health influencers today didn’t necessarily choose their career path, the trust and respect they have gained among their followers makes them a powerful tool in spreading awareness and tackling the stigma around mental health conditions.
Most people struggling with forms of addiction, trauma, deep depression, or other serious mental health issues often feel like they’re alone in their emotions without a voice to speak up. By providing a safe, judgement-free platform for change, mental health influencers are playing a vital role in tackling the global mental health crisis and incrementally driving progress for both young and old.