Was The ‘ #Medicated And Mighty ‘ Campaign Started By A Marketing Company?


“….The message [of the movement] is transparency. My message has always been transparency. Honesty is a healer. If you aren’t being honest and transparent, you aren’t dealing with the root of the problem. In turn, our honesty and transparency inspires that in others. It’s a very contagious thing. It’s sad that it’s not our normal, but I’m hoping this movement changes that.”

Read more: http://themighty.com/2015/09/how-one-moms-brave-selfie-started-a-new-kind-of-mental-health-movement/#ixzz3oBKjZ1Xq

 After The Mighty published an article about Jones’ medication selfie on Wednesday, September 2, Jones received hundreds of messages from people thanking her for saying what they needed to hear. Jones estimates that she’s heard from at least 50 people who’ve told her they’ve filled a prescription, made an appointment to see a doctor or otherwise sought help because of her message.

To know that by just being honest about my shortcomings, all of these people are receiving the help they need, is very humbling and overwhelming,’ Ms Jones said.

And now Ms Jones’ message, shared via The Mighty, has sparked a worldwide social media campaign, with mental illness sufferers from across the globe sharing their own images using her hashtags.

It gave her the idea of starting a hashtag for people to share their medication and prescription selfies, and after collaborating with The Mighty, she started the hashtag #MedicatedAndMighty,’ The Mighty explained about the campaign.

‘#MedicatedAndMighty has created a space for people to talk about their medication and help erase the stigma surrounding asking for help in the form of a prescription.

‘For ]Ms] Jones, it’s also a reminder of the strength in community and the power of solidarity.’




The Mighyey


I was originally alerted to this story through the Rxisk.org Twitter feed (screenshots above). Just so people know that I didn’t just pluck it out of thin air! But maybe it’s just a coincidence that the “Medicated And Mightyhashtag goes viral from a new social media (content/marketing) website called The Mighty (which intends to profit from Pharma affiliations of its human interest health stories).

Personally, I believe that Erin Jones’s (‘Mutha Lovin Autism’ blogger’s) original blog post was written with good intent and I believe she is sincere, and I don’t for a second think she did anything underhanded or untoward, however I would be a little cynical about the involvement of The Mighty web site in this hashtag campaign. What is this website gaining from promoting this story? What is it gaining from participating in a viral campaign like this? It is a business, after all…

Marketing companies hijacking, distorting, or jumping on board- genuine human interest stories and viral internet campaigns- are nothing new, but we are talking about the endorsement of very serious psycho-tropic medications here; they are not candy and they should never be treated as such. The side effects of these meds should be highlighted in this campaign too and the involvement of The Mighty (in whatever capacity) in the campaign should have been explicit from the very beginning.


But Maybe I have it all wrong? (and maybe Rxisk.org does too?)

For those of us involved in spreading awareness of the dangers of psychiatric medications through Twitter, most would be aware by now of the ‘#MedicatedAndMighty’ hashtag campaign and the so called ‘#Pillshaming’ campaign. The idea behind both campaigns was apparently to end the stigma of taking psychiatric medication for ‘mental illnesses’. I have to say, I agree with what Rxisk.org tweeted, ‘real progressives de-stigmatize people not corp products’ (anti-depressants). People should be defending the right to choose, one side (pro or anti-med) is not better than the other, this is not a war, or a fight between sides, and anyhow, there are many shades of grey, this debate is far from black and white.

This debate is still ongoing on twitter, and it can get quite heated at times. I never thought that taking medication was a weakness at all, however I do think that there is a lot of stigma and misinformation around about psychiatric treatments (but most of that is perpetuated by the psychiatric profession and the pharmaceutical industry not by the public). I believe stigma comes mainly from misunderstanding the human condition.

Personally I think both campaigns are a little immature too (and perhaps misguided) and they seem to appeal mostly to a very young demographic of teenagers, which is kind of worrying considering psychiatric drugs are particularly dangerous in these age groups (the SSRI antidepressants like Seroxat can cause increases in suicide and self harm). I don’t think that setting people up into pro and anti-med camps helps anyone either to be honest. I have nothing against anyone taking medication, I took it myself (Seroxat) at one point, unfortunately I wasn’t warned of the horrible side effects at the time (that’s why I started this blog), but I am not against anyone who takes anti-depressants, and I fully respect anyone’s right to choose, and I always have. I’m not even anti-medication, however I believe that doctors and pharmaceutical companies don’t warn adequately about the side effects, and many people are misinformed, and the long term damage can be harrowing for many people.

I understand though that this campaign is giving vulnerable people a sense of validation and empowerment though, and I respect that, however I would hate also to think that vulnerable people are being led up the garden path. Leading people to medication without warning them of the wide range of side effects and dangers is irresponsible.

The story of how ‘#Medicated And Mighty’ began was apparently from a blogger mother (of Mutha Lovin Authism blog) of an Autistic child who takes medication for depression and anxiety. The idea seemed to go viral on the internet over a week and has even made some major news network content.

However, perhaps this campaign isn’t as organic and wholesome as it appears?

It seems that the #medicated and mighty‘ campaign might have been (at least) encouraged by a well financed start up internet marketing company– called (you guessed it) –The Mighty

Enter The Mighty:

A content site based in Los Angeles designed for “a community of people who are thrown a curveball.” And today it’s announcing a $2.5 million seed round led by Upfront Ventures.

“…As for how the Mighty plans to bring in that revenue, Porath says they’ll be running ads from consumer brands and pharmaceutical companies...”

“....If you think about it from a pharmaceutical perspective, if they’re able to basically get a new client, someone who is using their drug. that person may use their drug for the next 20 years. That rate is much much higher than if you are selling soap.”…

Migghty MUtha

miggty2 MITY

I don’t think there is any shame in taking psychiatric medications, but people need to know the full dangers and they should be given informed consent about side effects, withdrawal symptoms etc. Furthermore, if this campaign was originally funded, or partly conceived, by a marketing company (linked to the Mighty website) then I think that people who are supporting this viral hashtag deserve to know that.

I am sure Erin probably had good intentions when she joined up with The Mighty website to spread her message about medications for mental illness and I’m sure she aimed to dispel the stigma and more power to her for that, but I can’t help thinking how this must have been a pharmaceutical company’s wet dream (and also a boon for the web site itself).

Was Erin used? Were we all set up against each other? Pro-med Vers Anti-med? (just for the record I am not anti-med, but I am anti-pharmaceutical lies).

Psychiatric medications are nothing to be ashamed of, however making these potentially dangerous and toxic drugs somehow cool, or trendy, is a bit worrying, in my opinion. I also find the premise of The Mighty website (which aims to profit off human interest stories about health) a little bit creepy (particularly after reading the article at the bottom of this post).

Furthermore, I would be concerned that this ‘pro medication’ viral campaign came shorty after the headline news that Paxil harms kids more than we were led to believe, and also the news recently that medications like Paxil (and SSRI’s in general) can make young people much more prone to violence.

Here’s the article anyhow ( from May 2015) which explains much more about what The Mighty are all about:


How health site “The Mighty” thinks it can build the next big content platform without selling its soul to Facebook

  By David Holmes , written on May 21, 2015

From The News Desk

When Mike Porath’s daughter was diagnosed with a chromosome disorder that includes autism and other challenges, he spent a lot of time on WebMD.

“But WebMD didn’t cover the day-to-day challenges and the emotional side,” said Porath. There was no digital equivalent, he felt, to the indispensable routine of talking to other families that are going through the same thing. And so with a CV that includes being editor-in-chief at AOL, an executive at SpinMedia, and a journalist for the New York Times and NBC News, Porath felt he had the content and platform chops to build the solution himself.

Enter The Mighty: A content site based in Los Angeles designed for “a community of people who are thrown a curveball.” And today it’s announcing a $2.5 million seed round led by Upfront Ventures.

The Mighty’s stories are produced by a small staff of journalists and a larger network of unpaid contributors, not unlike early iterations of Huffington Post and Bleacher Report. The pieces are made up primarily of personal essays, advice tips, and stories of inspiration: items on the homepage right now include, “I Have a Son With Autism and Don’t Know What’s Best For Him,” “The Secret Way I Get My Son With Special Needs To Brush His Teeth,” and “She’s 26, Lives With Williams Syndrome, and Has Her Own Successful Business.” And to give you an idea of how these stories are resonating, Porath says the site attracted 30 million visitors in its first year and 20 million over the last six months.

“For a long time I believed in contributor networks as a business model,” Porath said. “Why this works for us is we’re based on experiences and those are unique to individuals.” That means the contributions on the Mighty aren’t simply rewrites of the day’s news or embed posts of the most popular videos on Reddit or YouTube that any J-School intern could write. The content here is made up of truly unique stories readers can’t find anywhere else and that can’t be easily reaggregated by competitors.

The words “unpaid contributors,” however, should come as a red flag for many media observers. Sites that scale affordably on freely provided content — whether that means a social network like Facebook or a more traditional media site Bleacher Report — have rightly come under scrutiny. In the Mighty’s case, this concern is arguably amplified by the fact that these writers are in emotionally and financially vulnerable positions, and nobody wants to be accused of taking advantage of these contributors. But Porath argues that, unlike something like Bleacher Report where the contributors are aspiring journalists whose career is in writing, his contributors truly want to tell their stories on a platform that can amplify these pieces of content to large audiences. None of them have asked about payment, he says, and if any do ask about compensation, it’s in the form of charitable donations.

“Once we have revenue we can start distributing that to non-profits where a percentage of the revenue can flow back into the non-profit of [the writer’s] choice.”

As for how the Mighty plans to bring in that revenue, Porath says they’ll be running ads from consumer brands and pharmaceutical companies.

“Health brings in much higher ad rates,” Porath says, explaining how WebMD has been able to achieve the same revenues as sites with far greater traffic. After all, a reader on a story about a very specific disorder is likely in a very specific market for health products. “If you think about it from a pharmaceutical perspective, if they’re able to basically get a new client, someone who is using their drug. that person may use their drug for the next 20 years. That rate is much much higher than if you are selling soap.”

Along with the issue of unpaid contributors, there’s another concern about I have about the Mighty: Accuracy. If an unpaid contributor at, say, Buzzfeed writes a misinformed article about Buffy the Vampire Slayer there’s no harm except maybe to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s pride. But if an unpaid contributor at the Mighty writes about, I don’t know, vaccines, and communicates misinformation, is there an editorial process in place to catch any outright falsehoods?

Porath assures me that nothing goes on the site without first being factchecked by his editorial staff, which he plans to expand with the new seed round. That’s reassuring, though it’s worth noting that when it comes to health stories, even an outlet as prestigious and well-respected as the New York Times makes mistakes.

Concerns aside, Porath’s model is undoubtedly compelling: A passionate community of readers and writers, a vertical that brings in ad dollars as higher rates than others, and content that can’t be found anywhere else. Porath is so confident that he’s not striking the devil’s bargain with Facebook that so many other content properties have struck.

“Many other sites are paying Facebook to boost stories to get traffic. We are not. As we grow, we’re becoming less dependent on Facebook.”

Hey, if the Mighty can show a provable content model without being beholden to Facebook, that will be a boon in and of itself.

 Erin2 Erin3 The Mighty Erin





  1. Amy

    Perhaps one should spellcheck when one is trying to sound smart. Sincerely, One of the impressionable (39-yr-old) teenagers that follows Mutha Lovin Autism on FB.

    • Evidencer

      He is smart. He’s also very nice. He didn’t say word against Erin or people who are on medications. Given how much he writes, he can be allowed the odd typo. It’s his message that matters, and it isn’t directed at people on drugs, it is directed at companies that allow preventable problems with their drugs to persist by not coming clean about them.

    • truthman30


      As I said, repeatedly, this is not an attack or a critique of Mutha Lovin Autism, her blog, or even her hashtag of ‘MedicatedAndMighty’. I think her intention is sincere and genuine. I was merely drawing attention to the involvement of this website- The Mighty- and it’s clear agenda for profit off these stories. It also worries me that the campaign itself could be irresponsibly pushing people towards medication that might harm them. Yes some people claim meds work for them, but for many they can cause harm too…

  2. @medicatedandmeek

    I started having problems with major depression and anxiety for the first time a year ago. I tried so hard to hide it from my family, friends and coworkers because I was afraid of what they would think of me. I have a mental disorder. Those are hard words to wrap your mind around.

    I finally got to a point when I called my doctor begging to be seen ASAP. I didn’t feel I could wait another day. I started some medications and slowly started to see that I might be able to make it out of my diagnosis alive. I wasn’t so sure at first.

    In the months to follow, I hid my diagnosis and my use of medication from friends and coworkers. Again, I was afraid, ashamed and felt weak. I even went as far as to start a second FB page and add just a few people who I could trust to tell and give an update on how I felt. One page was an exact opposite image of the other.

    Erin’s #medicatedandmighty post and the viral fallout touched me deeply. Suddenly, I was not alone. Suddenly, I saw someone who I respect and care for (I know Erin), stepping forward and revealing a part of her life I was to scared to reveal. I somehow felt strength in numbers and not as ashamed and scared.

    Thank you, Erin. I know you didn’t expect your post to go viral. But it’s going viral has given me strength and encouragement through all of the people who are fighting the same battle with me.

    • truthman30

      I completely understand the feeling of validation that this campaign must bring people who felt stigmatized from taking psychiatric drugs. I was on Seroxat (Paxil) for 3 years in my twenties, I totally get the whole pro, anti, indifference/whatever issues which come along with stigma, mental illness and meds, I have been there…

      I have no problem with people taking psychiatric drugs, as I said I was on them myself. However, I do have a problem, with online health marketing companies (in the guise of social media) who have wider agendas (profit- pharma advertisement revenue etc). The Mighty is not a charity, they are a business, and this viral #medicatedandmighty campaign just gave them an almighty amount of hits…. that just doesn’t sit right with me. As I said repeatedly I think Erin is genuine and I have no reason to believe otherwise… it’s a marketing company potentially taking advantage of people’s suffering and health issues in order to make a buck that I have a problem with…

  3. Sommer

    It’s really disheartening to know for a fact that big pharma isn’t being #medicatedandmighty, yet you are spewing nonsense out into the big ole www causing doubt that maybe it was. For every person you falsely lure into your nonsense…that’s just one more that could have used the stand that Erin is making to help another human out. She didn’t ask for this to go viral, but it did. And I am so proud of her for putting herself out there and taking a stand for the rest of us.

    Write about what you know, not about what you think you do!

    • Evidencer

      Truthman is not someone who spews nonsense. Your comment is about what you think he wrote, not what he wrote. He handled Erin with kid gloves, said he has nothing against people who use psych drugs, and emphasized that his beef is with drug companies that hide the potential problems with their drugs. If there is any nonsense on this blog or in his tweets, I haven’t seen it yet.

    • truthman30

      There is a very clear agenda from The Mighty Website (they spell it out in their blurb) to promote human interest stories about personal health issues in order to create a platform where they will eventually sell space to pharmaceutical advertising (they say this on the interview I posted for gods sake!). They have had up to 2.5 million investment, and they have just had a PR bonanza with this hashtag!..I’m not making this stuff up! The links are all there and they speak for themselves! I’m not attacking Erin, or anyone on meds, I am highlighting the behavior of this cynical web site -The Mighty- that’s all. As I said repeatedly, I think Erin is genuine, however I don’t think that The Mighty is creating lavish viral campaigns and supporting staff to create them without expecting some kind of come back for the site and the venture!…

  4. truthman30

    I was on psychiatric medications (Paxil/Seroxat) for over 3 years and I have been writing my blog for 9 years. If you bothered to read my posts before reacting with defensive vitriol then you would see that I am in fact far from an idiot. I have researched, blogged and campaigned on issues relating to medications, psychiatry, the pharmaceutical industry and everything else in between, for almost 9 years, and I was on an anti-depressant, I have been there- therefore I think I am entitled to question the merits of this campaign. I am not anti-med, but I am anti-pharmaceutical lies and anti pharmaceutical marketing propaganda.

    I don’t think it’s helpful for any of us to be divisive and I think dialogue is important, however I tend to gravitate towards insightful, compassionate and inclusive dialogue when it comes to these issues therefore I have said my piece on #MedicatedAndMighty but I won’t be drawn into venomous, ignorant vitriolic debates…

    I think people should know the involvement of The Mighty Website, its overall agenda (and business plan) and what it is about, I don’t see how that is somehow being unhelpful- as with the medications, people deserve to be informed about the basis on which they receive their information also. I don’t think it’s helpful that marketing companies are hijacking any mental illness campaigns (viral or not), and I think the involvement of The Mighty Wesbite (who have a clear profit agenda linked to pharmaceutical advertising) is cynical. However, I do believe that the campaign itself, started by the original blogger on her facebook page was genuine…

  5. Carrie Jennings

    You REALLY need to research your subject more thoroughly before you shoot your mouth off about something. I’ve never in my life seen such a conspiratorial and BIZARRE article. And the fact that is was written about a personal friend just takes the cake, man. Lol

    • truthman30

      I didn’t shoot my mouth off, and I did do my research. This viral campaign #MedicatedAndMighty was formed in conjunction with The Mighty Web Site (which is a for profit driven content site), it says so in the interviews on the site! I’m just posting information that’s already out there and voicing my concerns. I’m only letting these comments through to show how juvenile they are, I wouldn’t normally engage with such puerile nonsense (or let such venomous comments on my blog posts). I did my research, people can make up their own minds but making reactive, childish comments and getting personal reflects upon the person commenting not on me. I don’t get what you’re on about to be honest .. who wrote what about a personal friend?..

      and furthermore, I find it ironic that I’m getting flak for basically drawing attention to this, isn’t the whole idea behind the campaign to stop shaming people? Well I was prescribed meds, and they didn’t do me any good, in fact it was a horrible experience, and I’m entitled to voice that opinion just as much as anyone else is entitled to voice their med experience.. it’s called a discussion, and it doesn’t need to get nasty…

  6. Jean

    I am sorry people are being disrespectful to your analysis. I totally agree with you. I was harmed by medication while taking them as well as getting off of them. And no one educated me of the horrible side effects being on them and no one educated me on the dangerous withdrawal effects either. I was stuck but luckily found support while withdrawing. I became suicidal, and had violent thoughts which was totally not me and had never been me. If only the doctors and psychiatrists truly understood how lethal and detrimental medications are and to create support for people on and getting off their meds. I feel bad for all the people now thinking it is so simple to go to your doctor and get a prescription and you will feel better for the rest of your life. I am the same neither anti or pro meds. I am also against pharmaceutical companies promoting and pushing drugs on people without knowing all the harmful issues and not telling all the horrible possible effects. I work in mental health and over 80 percent of clients’ issues are the medications they are on or having stopped the meds abruptly not knowing the harmful things that will happen or wanting to wean off the meds but they don’t have the support to do so. It is a travesty that our society is in this so deep and no one will admit it or do anything about it.

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