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Mental health: Instagram influencer gives people a reason to live – BBC

By Jared Evitts
BBC News

A woman's positive posts on social media have been published on billboards across the UK and seen her amass thousands of followers.
But for Coco, the real measure of success is the number of messages she receives from people who say she has saved their life.
"I wanted to end my life. I visited your page and it's given me a reason to live," read one message she woke up to one morning.
Another said: "I haven't had anyone to talk to, and ended up in hospital trying to hurt myself. Looking at your page has made me feel at peace."
The mental health activist, from Cardiff, who goes by the single name Coco on Instagram, posts positive affirmations on her Talk to Coco account, including those which read "you are enough", "you are loved" and "you are worthy".
"Mental health is who we are, it's part of us like our hair colour or our eyes, it's not a bad word and that's important to remember." she said.
Coco said her passion for mental health started as she "couldn't fake" how she was really feeling any longer so started posting on Instagram to express her feelings.
The 30-year-old said: "The response was magic. I felt human again, I felt recognised and acknowledged for who I really was.
"It gave me a feeling of euphoria, to be able to be me and be loved – was something I never imagined I could be.
"Having ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] makes me need validation and acceptance and it was something I never truly understood until I was so honest with myself."
Another inspiration has been the death of one of her friends.
"My friend called out for help for years – she had an awful life and she saw her mother get killed as a child," said Coco.
"She was the most intelligent person I know. Amazing in school, graduated university with a degree in law. She seemed OK, because educationally she was doing well.
"However, she took her own life."
She added: "If someone tells you they need help, believe them, I guess it can always be too late and then people want to start change."
Through her work, Coco wants to help young people by giving "children who feel different the knowledge to know that it's okay".
"I also want to give the tools to their educators on how to deal with people who are tuned different," she said.
"You wouldn't drive and handle a Ferrari the same way you would a Renault Clio, right? So why do the same with us."
She added: "My end goal with campaigning and championing for mental health would be to give people a purpose to want to stay alive in this world. I want people to know that mental health doesn't have to be just a stereotype of negativity."
Coco believes the focus of her work must be young people.
"For me and others growing up back then you couldn't just stay how you were suffering because of how society made you feel, so it's imperative for the generation of today to feel empowered rather than suppressed," she said.
She said that people sharing how much she is helping them gives her the power to keep going.
"I just want to help and do what I can, it's my purpose on earth I believe," Coco said.
"I was always told as a teenager I wouldn't be good enough, I wouldn't succeed, I wasn't loved or liked; it created a lot of self-doubt and hate towards myself, regardless of mental illness.
"My affirmations told the exact opposite message. It told everyone they were enough, they were loved and that they were worthy, and that I now know I am too."
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