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 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: mhsmchat@gmail.com.


Rachel Boldman said...

Hi there! I just found out about this chat! I would love to participate in the future. I am about to start my last 2 semesters of internship for my Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling, and I blog often about my experience with postpartum depression.


AmyK said...

I look forward to your participation in the next #mhsm chat! I also look forward to checking out your blog. Thanks so much for leaving a comment!

Cheryl Branche said...

For: Encyclopedia Project

Contact: Dr. Cheryl Louise Branche, 718-797-0520, Cheryl.branche@yahoo.com

Retired Doctor Reads World Book Encyclopedia to Heighten Awareness of Capacity of People with Mental Illness

Brooklyn , June 18, 2010—Dr. Cheryl Louise Branche, a retired general practitioner, is reading the World Book Encyclopedia from A to Z to bring attention to the stigma associated with mental illness and to increase awareness of the capacities of those with mental illness. Since October, 2008, she has been found reading the encyclopedia at the Pacific Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, where she reads from one to two hours per day.

People with mental illness face many obstacles related to the stigma in American society. Their capacities to perform are questioned. This projects show that with perseverance, commitment and determination anything can be achieved. By reading one hour daily, the large project of reading a complete set of the World Book Encyclopedia can be achieved. While it is estimated to take six years to complete, it is already into the second year.

Dor. Branche retired in 2000 after practicing general practice in New Zealand and after being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, a form of bipolar disease. She began the project in 2008.

More information is available from Dr. Cheryl Branche at 334 Bergen Street Brooklyn , New York 11217 , 718-797-0520, Cheryl.branche@yahoo.com