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Co Moderating Mental Health And Social Media #MHSM Chat With Vancouver Sun’s Exec Ed Valerie Casselton How To Effectively Respond To Media Stories On Mental Health

by Pete Quily on November 30, 2010 · 0 comments

I co moderated the Mental Health And Social Media #MHSM Twitter chat with Valerie Casselton @Valcasselton the executive editor of the Vancouver Sun newspaper last Tuesday November 23rd. The topic was how to effectively respond to media stories on mental health. I’m @petequily on Twitter

The Mental Health And Social Media #MHSM chat happens every Tuesday from 6pm to 7pm PST and was started byAmy Kiel  @Abeeliever on twitter who blogs at Una Vita Bella. I’d encourage people on twitter to check out the #mhsm chats, I find them very useful.

You can check it out by searching for the #mhsm hashtag on twitter

I enjoyed it though it was quite busy trying to keep up with 360+ tweets in an hour. Thanks to Valerie Casselton for helping out with the chat from the perspective of a newspaper editor and for the Vancouver Sun digital life reporter @gillanshaw who blogs at Digital Life for helping to arrange it.

Here are some of the tweets (not all, and missing the retweets) I’ve captured from the chat. It’s in reverse order going from last tweet to first tweet.

petequily: Nice to see #mhsm Mental Health & Social Media chat trending in #Vancouver http://trendsmap.com/local/ca/vancouver #mentalhealth

EatsShootsEdits: social media also needs to understand that Journalism has certain rules that must be used to tell a story. #mhsm

bluefinch604: @petequily Could send out a tweet stating that they wish to write about X mental health condition. Ppl may be brave & come forward. #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: @petequily Reporters and editors can do google searches for bloggers in the area. thy can use twitter as a research tool as well #mhsm

walkforwarriors: RT @PTSDConference: an effective way to respond to stories is to offer expert input based on experience/facts #mhsm

valcasselton: @EatsShootsEdits #mhsm Great! Always looking. Reporters, editors are part of your community and really care about these issues.

EatsShootsEdits: @KristinaJarvis trad media looks down at social media and social media thinks trad media is outdated. little crossover #mhsm

HealthWorksBC: INDEED! RT @CreativeFusion: Mental health commiss showed some of greatest stigma w/in health care system itself. http://bit.ly/g0JPtH

valcasselton: @petequily #mhsm. All stories have reporters’ contact info at the end. e-mail them. Send a tweet. Call them. Call the newsroom, an editor…

bluefinch604: @EatsShootsEdits One would need to be brave, to come forward with their story. Some won’t take the risk. #mhsm

HealthWorksBC: TY.Got to go & hope a few will join our hlthcare SM Canada chat this Thur #hcsmca 6pm Pacific1hr/3topics incl person centred health sm #mhsm

bluefinch604: @EatsShootsEdits I wish TV would rely less on sensationalism and I hope print keeps informing. #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: I feel if traditional media looks into the MH social media scene they just might find some good stories. #mhsm

KristinaJarvis: @stephintoronto Negativity is understandable – it can be frustrating to deal with & try to get pos. attn. #mhsm

SuperADDMom: #mhsm print media stating symptoms of #adhd for example that describe mainly boys at 7 yo, does nothing to educate public.

petequily: @stephintoronto no #stigma on high blood pressure many can diagnose & treat it. I get emails daily asking where #adhd diagnosis in bc #mhsm

dnmiyoshi: @stephintoronto Maybe not, but ur friends with high b.p. would probably think nothing of taking their medication right in front of u #mhsm

SuperADDMom: #mhsm articles still use old info when researching, females r UNDER dxed for #adhd and even #autism, considered a boy’s issue. not the case
about 1 hour ago via web · Reply · View Tweet

HealthWorksBC: as a MH leader w MH my emplyr of 18 yr was less supportive than expected. Healthcare does a poor job of taking good care of it’s “own” #mhsm

valcasselton: @stephintoronto #mhsm. Identify media, editors & reporters who do stories on MH that you like. Then contact them with your stories. Connect.

EatsShootsEdits: @KristinaJarvis TV like the sensationalism, the shock and fear value, print likes to educate, inform #mhsm

stephintoronto: cont to tell my story verbally,in print through blog,twitter,writing,at Group sessions,using it to help myself and others w MH issues #mhsm

CreativeFusion: @mrchriswagner Important to have editorial meetings w/ top staff w/ trusted members of mental health community to effect change. #mhsm

KristinaJarvis: I once had a boss threaten me with a pink slip, then later said it was to get me out of my “funk” #mhsm

SuperADDMom: #mhsm the local Ontario newspaper articles don’t help with the #adhd stigma

petequily: The BC adult ADHD clinic at childrens had year waitlist. asked govt for $ govt shut it down. still closed http://bit.ly/37dqmy  #mhsm

SuperADDMom: #mhsm ppl in my life know about it, and i tell those i meet new in my community as I strive to become known artist, ppl are so unaware

KristinaJarvis: The point I am trying to make, esp. to journos, is that the upper level needs understanding and it starts with staff #mhsm

SuperADDMom: #mhsm I’m very vocal about #adhd, #autism, neurological mental health issues on twitter, facebook, blog, and in my life, i OWN my ADHD.

HealthWorksBC: many of us have person. exp w MH self incl, dare i say we’re preaching to the choir. How about who’s not here & should be 4 future? #mhsm

mrchriswagner: I think we all have an oppty 2 take something negative & make it a positive, make it abt hope & make the media get it #mhsm

petequily: @EatsShootsEdits that happens w/ #ADHD too can take many months to see someone who knows ADHD UBC med schools stds get 1 hour on ADHD #mhsm

CreativeFusion: @KristinaJarvis Knew someone who used to smash furniture in psych hospital ER just so he would get help. He committed suicide. #mhsm

mrchriswagner: @CreativeFusion I think the bottom ranks of the media are mostly on side, it’s the subeditors and chiefs that need ‘training’ #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: @KristinaJarvis I am a Journo with multiple Mental Illnesses #mhsm

petequily: @PTSDConference yes I did that on the Vancouver YMCA #ADHD #stigma ad by blogging & tweeting it + offline see http://bit.ly/hZs1ZZ  #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: @petequily Pete you are right, education is key and for us to find ways to get media to educate “With” us. #mhsm

KristinaJarvis: In #ab we’ve had suicidal people get no help at ER, one killed himself at ER. Where was the story about the desperation of his act? #mhsm

ReachOutinUSA: @CreativeFusion Exactly. The angle is key, relating to the patients perspective is most easily facilitated by bottom-up media IMO #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: I have fallen thru the cracks of BCs MH system. Why should a Bipolar 1 person have to wait 6 to 12 months to find a P-Doc #mhsm

stephintoronto: i think that again we r back to the basics of these chats. the need for education,de-stigmatization,awareness&understanding #mhsm

petequily: To deal w/ #ADHD catch 22 I’ve been doing a series of blog posts what would it take you to go public with ADHD? http://bit.ly/fpZenW  #mhsm

SuperADDMom: #mhsm if we can’t get medical society to deal with MH without stigma, can we expect media to?

petequily: @HealthWorksBC and to make it worse people w/ #ADHD have 3-5 times higher rates of eating disorders #mhsm

mrchriswagner: @EatsShootsEdits agreed, you never hear ‘cancer patient escapes hospital’ or ‘man with broken leg escapes hospital’ do you #mhsm

@HealthWorksBC: Stigma x 10: a male w eating disorder. men seeking help & admitting a problem is a huge step but much society is not there yet. #mhsm

CreativeFusion: @petequily Magazines often cover these issues better & some papers, but has to be right reporter w/ right intent & angle. #mhsm

HealthWorksBC: IDEALLY MH discussion should be occurring as part of daily conversation everywhere, kitchen table, w friends & not be a media topic #mhsm

stephintoronto: Press calls agencies for quotes,info. They need to know that you are open. #mhsm

SuperADDMom: #mhsm i find as a mom with “cyclothymia” & ADHD on my medical record, my CHILDREN’S mental health is not addressed because I’m the advocate

valcasselton: #mhsm If it’s new, if it has human interest, if someone is willing to be interviewed, we’ve got a story. Need all three.

mrchriswagner: @petequily stigma is everyone’s problem, keeps us all in the dark, but stigma and bigotry sells papers unfortunately #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: because you never hear, “Driver in accident texted seemed to be a idiot” #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: also reporters need to stop throwing in “Possibly Mentally Ill” or “Subject seemed Psychotic” this adds to MH stigma #mhsm

stephintoronto: i know that many of us would stand up & speak up for the cause, so where do I sign up is part of the challenge? #mhsm

CreativeFusion: @ReachOutinUSA True…have had great success interviewing people for CAMH CrossCurrents. But they know it will be dealt w/sensitively. #mhsm

petequily: @CreativeFusion but people w/ #ADHD rarely complain to media / govt b/c stigma is so strong. Catch 22 #mhsm

mrchriswagner: @EatsShootsEdits You are correct, also #mh doesn’t make good pictures, which is what TV needs, so often #mh gets zero coverage #mhsm

ReachOutinUSA: @CreativeFusion this is true, re consumers (h8 that word) but if u can find some spokespeople, you need to be careful and nurturing #mhsm

KristinaJarvis: #mhsm better in-depth stories about the effects of mental illness, better explanation of what mental illness does to people.

HealthWorksBC: Stigma x 10: a male w eating disorder. men seeking help & admitting a problem is a huge step but much society is not there yet. #mhsm

petequily: @CreativeFusion Absolutely. One of the biggest problems with #ADHD is the stigma. Media & govt often doesn’t take ADHD seriously #mhsm

mrchriswagner: @CreativeFusion It’s not bad here, sometimes tho, the guidelines scare the media out of reporting on #mh and #suicide #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: @valcasselton TV news treats MH far more like a side show than print. TV is about the fear, sensationalism #mhsm

mrchriswagner: @CreativeFusion this is true, re consumers (h8 that word) but if you can find some spokespeople, you need to be careful and nurturing #mhsm

stephintoronto: Maybe we need to assign a mental illness to each month and just bombard them with stories? hee hee #ADHDAugust? #DepressionDeccember? #mhsm

valcasselton: @EatsShootsEdits One a month?! Vancouver Sun had 26 stories on MH in the past month. #mhsm

mrchriswagner: #mhsm, often tho, the issue comes when a sensational story, like the Oz twin #suicide in the US, happens, and the rules go out the window

stephintoronto: @EatsShootsEdits think maybe the spectrum of “mental health” is so large that it is even hard to have these talks sometimes #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: I agree it is hard to get people to speak openly in a public forum about their mental illness #mhsm

mrchriswagner: #mhsm Hey everyone, sorry for the delay in jumping in, in Oz, we have guidelines for the media, courts, police etc http://bit.ly/9ACQWT

EatsShootsEdits: one of the issues I faced as a producer was take depression, the spectrum is so wide it was hard to focus a story #mhsm

HealthWorksBC: RT @stephintoronto: i think recog obj of the reporter & the need for a story as well as the obj of sensitivity&truthfulness #mhsm

CreativeFusion: @Colleen_Young @EatsShootsEdits Often reporters want to talk to people with mh issues; hard to find due to stigma. #mhsm

petequily: @BCMentalHealth I think the #ItGetsBetter campaign is brilliant. Would like to see something like that on #ADHD #mhsm

HealthWorksBC: Goals/Risks: knowledge of facts/range, uniqueness, & impact of story on others, need to reduce stigma vs adding to stigma #mhsm

stephintoronto: i think recognizing the obj of the reporter & the need for a story as well as the obj of sensitivity&truthfulness about #Mentalhealth #mhsm

valcasselton: @petequily Counterproductive? Not timely. Not relevant. Issues that are so specific they don’t speak to a broad number of people. #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: reporters need to understand that patients get very little voice in the public conversation about MH and MH care. #mhsm

BCMentalHealth: Do you think the media is taking the right steps with regard to the #ItGetsBetter campaign? #mhsm

PTSDConference: if u find a story or blog post u believe is counter productive or wrong, respond w/ ur own post & link to other info #mhsm

stephintoronto: i think counter productivity arrises from anger to the story, where the real sentiment might have been sadness/hurt not vocalized well #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: question, what can we do to better help the media tell our story? #mhsm
about 2 hours ago via TweetChat · Reply · View Tweet

petequily: @KristinaJarvis what things do you think reporters & editors could do to get more non surface stories on #mentalhealth ? #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: @BCMentalHealth links for help, moderated chat, possible web counseling via skype for people not comfortable leaving the house #mhsm

BCMentalHealth: if you were to build an online support group for people with mental illness what things would you like to see it have? #mhsm

petequily: @valcasselton what are some ways that people have tried to respond to media on #mentalhealth isssue that don’t work/counterproductive? #mhsm

HealthWorksBC: My TIPS: get the facts right, treat w dignity, not generalize, HELP others find resources by listing at least 1 in each story #mhsm

PTSDConference: another effective way to respond to stories is to build your own story via social media #mhsm

stephintoronto: it is like any health issue.if there isn’t a crisis or a specific month/week dedicated to the cause it won’t make the pages #mhsm

PTSDConference: an effective way to respond to stories is to offer expert input based on experience/facts #mhsm

petequily: RT @valcasselton: #mhsm Lots of ways to respond to media re. mental health stories. Letters to editor, calls to reporters & editors, ideas for follow stories.

EatsShootsEdits: i feel print media should have one MH story a month in the health & lifestyle section #mhsm

KristinaJarvis: #mhsm As a reporter with mental illness, I still feel we in media don’t really scratch the surface of coverage.

petequily: Web-savvy Mounties save suicidal man at UBC http://bit.ly/eeLI7g  #mhsm via @gillianshaw

EatsShootsEdits: @valcasselton i agree, but we must as editors be open to relationships in the MH community #mhsm

HealthWorksBC: i’ve asked rprters 2 de-sensationalize stories to be more sensitive & walk in shoes of those they are writing about.they did x3 so far #mhsm

stephintoronto: i have responded to issues/articles in the paper that i feel don’t properly represent #bipolar #depression.try to bring a real voice #mhsm

valcasselton: #mhsm Lots of ways to respond to media re. mental health stories. Letters to editor, calls to reporters & editors, ideas for follow stories.

EatsShootsEdits: editor and was interviewed myself to stop using MH fear as a news leader #mhsm

PTSDConference: certainly there’ve been tons of stories on #PTSD lately. hav leveraged them several times to forge relationships #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: I responded to a story whereas a reporter was using scary people with MH to sensationalize a story. I responded with a letter to the #mhsm

HealthWorksBC: as a former ldr of mental health MOST of my experiences w reporters concerning awaren. of MH were sensitive when goals/risks undrstood #mhsm

petequily: Also what are some examples where you’ve responded to media story on #mental health & had a bad result or no result? possible causes? #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: There should be stronger relationships between news editors and the MH community in order to bring honest relevant issues public #mhsm

HealthWorksBC: when sharing facts & exper about males w eating disorders. fact chking w reporters, person w illness & time helped #mhsm #hcsmca #mhsm
about 3 hours ago via TweetChat · Reply · View Tweet

stephintoronto: it’s a tough topic. i have used media stories to open the conversation with family and friends about #mentalhealth #mhsm

EatsShootsEdits: I know from working in TV news , different than print. MH stories are usually linked to tragic events & not organic MH stories #mhsm

petequily: What are some examples where you’ve responded to a media story on #mental health and had a good result? What were causes? #mhsm

petequily: we won’t be doing ?1 ?2 etc just general ? and comments focusing on effective AND non effective ways to respond to media MH stories #mhsm

petequily: @ValCasselton won’t be able to respond to specific media stories but will do her best respond to your ?s #mhsm

petequily: @ValCasselton graciously offered to help out with her perspective at the last minute #mhsm

petequily: I’ll be co moderating the #mhsm chat with Vancouver Sun Executive Editor @ValCasselton who’s on deadline so will be in & out of chat

petequily: Welcome to #mhsm ! tonights topic how to effectively respond to media stories on #mentalhealth vs just vent

BCMentalHealth: Looking forward to the Mental Health & Social Media chat #mhsm about to start

petequily: #ADHD Is Essentially Invisible To Those Who Don’t Have It, Need A Major PR Campaign To Take Away The Stigma http://bit.ly/eAkPmW  #mhsm

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