DURHAM, N.C. — Durham-based psychologist, Dr. Justine Grosso has discovered Instagram as a way to reach an untapped audience, particularly females, working through self-esteem issues, relationships or trauma.

When you think about going to a psychologist, the image of a ring light and phone may not be top of mind. But Grosso isn’t going the traditional route.

“It’s a brilliant way to increase access to mental health education. So I jumped onto Instagram and started sharing mental health information," Grosso said.

Her videos have garnered 65,000 followers, and she hopes to dismiss any stigma of going to a therapist. 


What You Need To Know

  • Dr. Justine Grosso runs the Instagram account @heydrjustine
  • Her account grew during the pandemic
  • The World Health Organization reports anxiety and depression increased worldwide the first year of the pandemic


“So one of the things I try to do on Instagram that not a lot of other people are doing is trying to provide information about the neurobiology of trauma, so how trauma can impact our nervous system and how the brain works and that takes a lot of shame out of mental health difficulties," Grosso explained.

The account, @heydrjustine, really took off during the pandemic when people were not getting out to go anywhere, including therapy appointments. 

“People were looking for ways to manage anxiety and manage the fear that was coming along with this global pandemic," Grosso said. "People were wanting to understand how a pandemic impacts their mental health.”

The World Health Organization reports the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased 25% during the first year of the pandemic. 

Grosso is also a yoga teacher and incorporates it into some of her videos, which is another tool followers can take with them on their own journey of mental health.

“There is a hunger for information about coping skills for mental health," Grosso explained.