Mental illness is indiscriminate — it can strike any person at any time.

In fact, the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) found that every year, 43.8 million people in the US experience a mental illness.

That's 18.5% of the population — or one in five Americans.

Marcela Sabiá, an artist based in São Paulo, Brazil, knows the impact of mental illness all too well.

The 26-year-old has anxiety as well as depression.

Both mental illnesses wreak havoc on people's lives, but Sabiá copes by creating art.

Her stunning illustrations, which she shares on Instagram with more than 20,000 followers, offer affirmative mantras for other people who have mental illnesses.

Each illustration is coupled with an inspiring caption that offers a glimmer of hope to those who are struggling.

For instance, the caption on her "It's OK to not be OK" illustration encourages those who are wading through mental illness to seek help — no matter what stigma they may encounter.

"A lot of people believe that to be a positive person you need to always be happy and that's not how it works," she wrote. "We all have times when we feel discouraged and this is normal. We often try to disguise ourselves and avoid admitting that we are not on our best days and it only makes us worse. So do not be ashamed to admit that you're not OK. Talk to someone, ask for help, cry or whatever, but do not be afraid to express your feelings. Do not be so hard on yourself for being down, just be patient and remember that this is part of human nature. Accept it and own your feelings."

Sabiá told The Mighty that her mental illnesses inspire her to create meaningful art that helps others.

"I think I am inspired by my own difficulties and experiences. … It makes me want to create pieces that help us to be more positive about ourselves," she said. "I think all the pain we experience can result in incredible art." 

Fear of stigma is one of the myriad reasons people with mental illnesses don't seek professional treatment.

In fact, in 2011 only 59% of people with mental illnesses received treatment, according to Psychological Science.

Undoing public and cultural stigma is one of Sabiá's goals. Her art is a viable means of achieving that goal.

"There is also stigma with people who have mental illness, we are still seen as crazy or we are not taken seriously," Sabiá told The Mighty. "There is still a lot of ignorance. [O]ne of the hardest things is to know that we are going to deal with it for the rest of our lives and we can never consider ourselves totally healed, even if we are very well in the present."

A large part of ending stigma is normalizing mental illness. Sabiá is aiming to do that as well.

"Just as we have a sore throat and need medication, our minds can also become ill and need treatment," she said. "It is normal and happens with all kinds of people. I would like people to understand how serious and real this is."

Instagram is an ideal place to do that stigma-ending work: It's a social platform where people are pressured into presenting the best parts of their lives.

With her illustrations, Sabiá is bringing realness to a platform that cultivates a faux sense of perfection.

"In a culture where people want to show only the best of their lives, it's easy to feel like you’re the only person struggling while everyone is happy," Sabiá told The Mighty. "I speak of things that people do not want to talk about precisely so that these people feel included and see that we are all equal and capable."

Best of all, illustrating is aiding Sabiá's own recovery.

"Having a mental illness made my creations very real and sensitive, I believe," she told The Mighty. "With my mental disorders, I began to use my illustrations as support and [a] tool for my recovery and overcoming."

Well done, Marcela.