If you’ve seen more people opening up about their mental illnesses or chronic health conditions on social media lately, chances are you’ve seen Kat Selwyn Layton’s “End the Stigma” badges too.
After actress and mental health advocate Carrie Fisher’s death, Layton, who lives with bipolar disorder, posted a collage of badges designed to raise awareness for mental health issues. From there, people began sharing the post, adding Layton’s badges to their social media pages and as their Facebook profile photos.
“If someone is struggling with a mental illness and/or other neurodivergent condition they should feel comfortable reaching out, they should feel safe discussing it. Most importantly, they should know they’re not alone,” Layton wrote in her post, inviting others to share the badges.
Within days, Layton’s original post racked up over 30,000 shares, prompting the 28-year-old North Carolinian to create a Facebook page, “End the Stigma,” to share more badges, including badges for those in the neurodivergent community and those living with chronic illnesses.
What started as nine badges, has now grown into a collection of hundreds of badges, including badges in Spanish and French, as well as motivational images. “When I created a post with [nine] pictures and a message that I wanted to fight the stigma around mental health, I never dreamed it would become what it has,” Layton shared on the “End the Stigma” page.
“Badges are about letting people show these parts of themselves. The response has been outstanding, and we continue to grow,” she told The Mighty.
To see more badges, visit the “End the Stigma” Facebook page.