⚠️ Tread with caution! ⚠️
This page discusses mental health topics and the links discuss mental illness as well as contain self-harm mentions. Note that while menhera deals with sensitive topics its aim is to be a force for good and promote recovery.
What is menhera?
The term "menhera" originated on a Japanese mental health board and refers to people who seek mental well-being. Many people shared their experiences in the form of vent art. Several menhera exhibits have even been held (link to gallery page for one of these events). Eventually some menhera art also began to be printed on clothing.(see more art on her website)
Please be aware that the term "menhera" (often in the context of "menhera kei"(menhera type person) or "menhera woman/man") has been misused in a negative way by the broader society in Japan, so if you search for this term you will find many negative articles. This is separate from how the term is used by the Japanese menhera community.
Menhera.jp is a website where individuals exchange experiences that relates to mental health generally, or to specific mental illnesses or disorders.
As mentioned before, menhera vent art eventually got printed on clothing.
⚠️ Caution, linked search may contain potentially triggering imagery! ⚠️ A Rakuten search for menhera (メンヘラ) displays brands that advertise their clothing as menhera, such as ankoROCK, and shirts with graphic prints featuring text like "Sorry for being born". Note that the results also show Menhera-chan character goods, and some items may potentially be tagged for the stereotype.
Parka by Nemutai Company. The text says "I want to sleep".
For many people, art that expresses your struggles is a key part to the appeal of menhera. Others feel that elements such as glittery or pastel-colored pills help them to accept their own medication, which can be associated with considerable stigma and shaming even in the west.
Menhera is sometimes misrepresented as being about glorifying/romanticizing self-harm and illness. This is not the point of the movement.
The idea is to cope constructively with one's difficulties. Sharing experiences can make people feel less alone. For some, creating vent art can be an alternative to more harmful action.
Menhera in fashion is not to be confused with fashion menhera, the Japanese term for wannabe menhera. However, it is important to note that these so-called "wannabe menhera" may be acting in an attention-seeking manner as a result of actual mental distress.
When planning a coord it's good to consider what you want to express. If you want to spotlight a menhera theme through an art print it's a good idea to not make the rest of your outfit so busy that it draws focus away from the print.
Coords that center on menhera themes often consist of a top or dress that features menhera art, which is generally vent art (some coords revolve around large text prints). The vent art can be cute, or it can be morbid while the cut of the top/dress is cute. An outfit can be as simple as a printed t-shirt + short skirt/shorts + plain tights or thigh-highs (though printed ones have been popular).
Accessories are not required but can work to elevate an outfit if they tie in with the theme of the art featured on your shirt. For example, an outfit based around a print about insomnia could work well with star hair clips.
The art could relate to a specific problem you are struggling with (insomnia, sound sensitivity, social anxiety, etc), or around a general wish for your situation to improve. For example you could wear a print involving pills to represent a magical medicine to cure all your problems.
Makeup is typically kept simple. A common look is the application of excessive blush under the eyes (byojaku makeup), to make the wearer look fragile.
This blog post by Puvithel offers a listing of styles for those who like to express themselves in bolder ways.
Want to know more? Here are links to some articles that have been translated from Japanese websites/have a dual language option: