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 hashtags.org 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 TwapperKeeper.com; 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: firstname.lastname@example.org.