Thursday, April 8, 2010

Update: New Site Under Construction

As you may have noticed my posts have become a bit irregular. I have a lot on my plate right now, but I am so thrilled that our Mental Health and Social Media (#mhsm) chats have continued and have been a great source of inspiration, resources, and real ideas we can put into action.

The chat continues to be held on Tuesday evenings (US) at 9pm CST/10pm EST.

I am currently working on the creation of a new site that will be more informative and keep you all up to date. I am blessed to have the help of @outofshell (Kathleen) and @gordonglenn (Gordon) who are really giving me a huge gift of their time and service for this project. Stay tuned, as it won't be long before we have the new site ready!

This past week @perthtones (Tony) juggled an in person tweet-up in Perth, Australia while he co-hosted the chat and brought the week's topic to the table. See all transcripts and stats at What the Hashtag?!

I am still in need of topic ideas and input, so please do not hesitate to share your thoughts with me here or on twitter at @MHSMchat or @Abeeliever.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chat No.6

Tonight's chat topic: What are the "free" resources available today to help with #mentalhealth issues...pros/cons...what's available? #mhsm

That was how we started the chat last week and it turned into a discussion full of great resources. Naturally, the conversation led to discussing online support networks and groups. We discussed the pros and cons of "professionally" led and moderated groups versus those solely organized by "peers". The role of a peer versus professional can sometimes be fuzzy, but the overall consensus from the chat seemed to be that it was integral to have an experience in dealing with the mental health issues yourself on some level in order to be a successful group facilitator. Regardless, a facilitator or moderator is essential to the proper functioning of an online group. Many of our chat participants are moderators/facilitators themselves or have previously been, both online and off. It was a great discussion rich with ideas, opinions and resources.

Check out these links for resources on leading/facilitating support groups:

Some links to online support group information:

Warmlines: phone numbers to call for confidential support

These are just a few places to look for these kinds of resources and all were provided during last week's #mhsm chat by participants. See the transcripts of the chat for even more and to find some great people to follow on Twitter.

So far, Chat No. 6 was the most fulfilling chat to date, for me. It went smoothly, I was able to follow with less time lag problems and the conversation was full of resources and great perspectives. I'm still looking to form a partnership with one or two other individuals to help facilitate this chat (hint, hint). Some very kind and supportive people on Twitter have been faithful attendees and have really helped us to get this chat running. I am so grateful for their help. (You know who you are!)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Chat No.5

March 9, 2010 was our 5th chat and although I was not able to physically present myself a very kind last minute volunteer, @ChildAnxiety (aka Marianne Russo moderator of @TheCoffeeKlatch) facilitated the chat. She is a "pro" in my book when it comes to hosting chats and she added a lot of valuable information and tools that will continue to be very helpful in the future.

I have struggled with the best way to keep track of all of the chatter and follow the #mhsm hashtag during the chat. Marianne utilized a tweetchat room and also archived the chat at what the hashtag?! You can even print out the transcripts easily there!

I look forward to thoroughly reviewing the transcripts to get a good picture of what the chat was like and to get a grip on the content, but at first glance it looks like it went great and was also well attended.

This is how the chat began: "@ChildAnxiety: Tonights topic - How social media has filled a void for people and families with mental illness. #mhsm"

I couldn't be more pleased with the status of the chat. I only hope that other great minds like @ChildAnxiety will continue to add their input and help us to make this chat the best that it can be.

I am quickly realizing that my life only allows for "so much" and I need input and assistance from others who care about mental health issues and social media in order to continue the chat for the "long haul". It has come to mind that setting up a schedule of volunteer moderators/facilitators might be a great way to get others involved. I could make the @MHSMchat account a "shared account" or it could just be run from the volunteer's individual twitter account. Thoughts?

I look forward to using TweetChat for our next Mental Health and Social Media Chat which will be Tuesday March 16, 2010 at 9pm CST. I am so thankful for all the participation in the chat and promoting the #mhsm hashtag. The vision I have for bringing the #mentalhealth community together on Twitter is really taking good form!

Chat No.4

Chat No. 4 on March 2 was a great one! (Aren't they all?)

We discussed issues such as suicide prevention efforts and how social media can play an important role. A topic that is dear to my heart, we spoke about the idea that suicide prevention organizations could utilize social media and those adept at using it to help in volunteer suicide prevention efforts. Training should be more easily accessible to those wanting to help with suicide prevention, perhaps online training courses could be made available so that more people are equipped to help in crisis situations.

Another topic of conversation was anonymity vs disclosure. Does sharing online become less credible and reduce impact if people remain anonymous?

Please check the archives at for all of the "tweets" from our 4th chat!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Chat No. 3

Our third chat was perhaps the most stimulating for me, thus far. It seemed all the participants were very enthusiastic and filled with a passion for reducing stigma and getting the word out about using social media for activism in this area. I was just thrilled to be a part of the chat, let alone an organizer.

We started off the chat with a topic raised by @petequily and discussing celebrities who raise awareness and help to reduce stigma by discussing their own personal struggles. The conversation easily picked up from there:

@susanmees @petequily I love the idea of personalities with mental health being more visable. Let's do away with the mental health stigma. #mhsm

@mhsmchat Can we give a salute to those we know (celebrities) on twitter and elsewhere, who are helping to stomp out stigma with social media? #mhsm

@stephintoronto @susanmees @petequily big campaign in canada being put on by @endstigma getting celebs & famous cdns to talk about #mentalhealth #mhsm

@NAMIMass Can your avg person relate/learn abt mental illness from a celeb? #mhsm

@susanmees @NAMIMass I think seeing a celeb speak out helps erase stigma. A lot of folks need the support of knowing others feel similarly. #mhsm

@stephintoronto ending stigma about #mentalhealth starts w me,not a celeb.tangible,real,life,i am now an advocate #mhsm @petequily @MHSMchat @susanmees

@perthtones @mhsmchat #mhsm Celebs speaking of #mentalhealth can help, but many see it as attention seeking - we need cultural change to end stigma:)

From this point the conversation shifted to discussing how we can get involved now and work to end the stigma that far too many dealing with mental health issues contend with. It was very inspirational and a conversation full of great ideas.

One idea taken from the chat was to transform #mentalhealthmonday into a day where we can speak out about how mental health issues have touched our lives personally, sharing with the world so that others know it can affect any of us, that no one is protected from it, it is just part of human health.

This past Monday I spoke out about different ways mental health issues have touched my life, sending tweets out about how many in my family have been affected, how I have been diagnosed with different mental health issues such as major depressive disorder and general anxiety disorder. I spoke out about putting an end to stigma and many others joined in, although perhaps not quite as many as I hoped. I plan to continue this movement with #mentalhealthmonday as a way to recognize people who work hard to end stigma and help others with mental health issues as well as a way to share our own personal experiences.

The trends for the use of the hashtag for #mhsm has shown that more people are adding it to their tweets and bringing attention to the chat. I am extremely pleased by this. Unfortunately, I am not savvy in the metrics and analysis of this kind of data, so if you know of some good tools or sites that can help with this, please share! I use to get a glimpse of what is going on, but I am willing to bet there are other sources for this kind of information or perhaps ways to better use this one that can give a better big picture.

You can see all the tweets from MHSM Chat No. 3 on; just search for #mhsm! I am open for collaboration so please feel free to contact me either here on the blog, through twitter or at the MHSM email address:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Mental Health Social Media Chat No.2

We held our second Twitter chat Tuesday night at 9pm CST. With plenty of technical difficulties on my part, I will still call it another success!

Using Twitter Search has been almost useless for me as of yet (I get an error message that states that I am being rate limited!?!). has been too slow and Seesmic does not seem able to follow the chat in its entirety in a timely fashion, the coverage is spotty. Needless to say, I need some technical help in this department. If you can offer some, feel free!

For our debut chat on February 9th the very kind @petequily archived the entire chat. You can find our chat from this week archived in the same spot, It states there that the limit is 500 tweets, so I need to inquire and see what we can do about that!

There is definitely not a lack of intelligent and purposeful communication on this subject matter. I believe it is just a matter of time before more are made aware of the chat and are able to participate! The more participation we have the better the opportunity for growing, inspiring, and bringing the mental health community together.

Some highlights for me personally from our second #mhsm chat:

@MHSMchat Clapping! RT @AFTAorg @MHSMchat T1: activism is a form of cure #mhsm
-This statement just makes me smile. It is truth, too. Activism cures.

@mentalhealthpro Social media facilitates the sense of belonging for many. In that way, social media can be seen as facilitating mental health. #mhsm

@NAMIMass If social media is a tool. How can it b used to increase fed/state funding for mental health/housing etc?#mhsm

@NAMIMass T2: has anyone tweeted about pending cuts or bills & asked people to take action, give testimony, make calls to legislators? #mhsm
-A call to action! We can all use social media to take more action in additon to our awareness efforts.

@NAMIMass MHSMchat @mentalhealthpro, petitions r good 2 but personal testimony on how a bill or cut will effect the voter has bigger impact #mhsm
-giving us insight on better ways to achieve our goals

@kgilnack Using official/campaign Facebook pages to share stories abt impact of cuts, programs, etc. also effective #mhsm
-link to article about using facebook for advocacy

This is just a snippet of the chat, but you can see that there is plenty of valuable content. Check out the entire archived chat or please join us for our next #mhsm chat, Tuesday February 23, 2010 at 9pm CST.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Our Debut

Our first chat was held on February 9th at 9Pm CST and I have to say I am quite pleased with the turnout and content! I have to admit, although I came up with the idea with initial enthusiasm and excitement I was a little unsure for a while just before the chat. I wondered if the community would embrace this opportunity and if I was the right person to get this started. I promoted the chat very little in the days prior to the chat, but some faithful friends in the mental health community on Twitter rallied and reassured me that this was indeed a good thing. So, we had our debut and I will call it a success!

I began the chat with the question:
"What are your goals for using social media in regards to mental health?"

And the conversation easily flowed from there...

Topics such as stigma, support and awareness were brought up, but plenty of room left to delve into them further. Some of the tweets that made the greatest impact on me personally follow:

@markvanbaale I could really see where talking openly about one's struggles using tools like Twitter, blogs, etc. makes one not feel alone #mhsm

@moritherapy @markvanbaale the transparency of social media is a wonderful antidote against the stigma associated with #mentalhealth #mhsm

@markvanbaale @moritherapy Amen! I really think social media has its merits when used to connect those who are struggling with depression, etc. #mhsm

@markvanbaale Question for all on #mhsm chat: With openness of Twitter and other SM channels, do you ever feel "labeled" if you share about ur struggles?

@petequily @markvanbaale yes there can be stigma attached but sometimes you also find unexpected support. Also important to call out stigmatizers #mhsm (I especially liked this one)

@moritherapy @markvanbaale no, i actually find being open about #mentalhealth freeing. #mhsm

@MHSMchat RT @moritherapy yay! @petequily says it's important to call out stigmatizers on social media. #mhsm

@moritherapy another question: how can social media help bring more awareness and less stigma to mental health in the work place? #mhsm

@petequily 12 Ways to Fight Mental Health #Stigma With Social Media corrected link #mhsm #mentalhealth

@petequily .@MHSMchat @markvanbaale labels are neutral. can be used for good ie find diagnosis, treatment, resources or for harm ie stigmatizers #mhsm

@esmeralda73 Proposed a paper to counselling class re: socmed for mental health... response ...will encourage isolation and "pseudo" relationships #mhsm (want to touch on this topic again!)

@mentalhealthpro @MHSMchat social media gives us a bigger voice and more choice without the fear of stigma. #mhsm

These are just a few of the tweets that stood out to me, but they were all important and added to the conversation. You can find a complete archive of the chat at so kindly created by @petequily. You can also find a wrap up post by @moritherapy at You can see a few key contributors really made this first chat work and I am ever thankful for their participation. I look forward to their continued participation and for others to join in!

My vision for this chat is to bring the entire mental health community on Twitter together so that we can raise awareness, end stigma and continue our education process together. This means professionals in the field, activists, advocates, and those who struggle with mental health issues themselves are all welcome and part of this effort. We are all working towards the same goal, better health, and together we can create something very special.

Please join us at the next Mental Health Social Media chat Tuesday February 16th, 2010 at 9pm CST. Don't forget to use the hashtag #mhsm and connect with me on twitter at @MHSMchat and @Abeeliever.

Feel free to send emails regarding the chat, feedback, ideas, etc. to