12 Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma With Social Media

This is for a presentation I’m doing at Mental Health Camp Vancouver (a conference combining social media with mental health) called ADHD – Busting the myths, breaking the stigma, showing reality, one post and tweet at a time. While ADHD is especially stigmatized as the orphan of mental health conditions, especially Adult ADHD, it’s not the only one that suffers stigma.

12 Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma With Social Media

Arranged from more anonymous to more personal, and less effort to more effort. There’s a choice for everyone.

1. Click on a factually correct, non stigmatizing mental health article, or personal story via a blog post, tweet, podcast, YouTube video, Facebook update, Friendfeed, web forum etc. Result will traffic to the site/account, encouragement for the creator to continue to create, possible revenue and good for SEO just from that one simple easy click.

2. Actually read/listen/watch above content. Assuming the content is non stigmatizing, and helpful, interesting, or entertaining do one or more of the following.

3. Vote on it /rate it, i.e. number of stars if available.

4. Socially bookmark it in site’s like Stumbleupon, Delicious, etc.

5. Submit it to sites like Digg, Yahoo Buzz, Reddit, Mixx, Propeller etc.

6. Forward the content to others either without a comment, or with a personal comment by :

a) Email
b) Twitter i.e. Retweet it, or on Facebook, Friendfeed etc

7. Comment on the original article, post, video etc in one of the following ways depending on your comfort level:

a) anonymously
b) with your first name
c) with your full name
d) with your full name and the name of your blog/website/Twitter account etc.

8. Do a response to the original content by a blog post, tweet, or video on your blog or social media account

9. Respond to someone lying, stigmatizing, minimizing, trivializing, or shaming a person with a mental health condition or the actual condition itself. This can be done in a wide variety of creative ways depending on your personality, subject knowledge, and comfort level with conflict, some of us occasionally enjoy conflict for a good cause:) Perhaps involve your social media friends in the effort.

10. Create some original content that’s factual, anti stigma or a personal story or story about someone you know, or all of the above on one or more of your social media accounts.

11. Participate in a social media mental health campaign. I.e., anti stigma, awareness, fund raising, political action, online petition, contacting politicians etc. Could be all online or a combination of online and offline i.e. involving traditional media.

12. Create a social media mental health campaign.

If you know of any other ones or some good examples of the above, please share them in the comments for others. If you think this was useful, please do one of the above for this post:)

Hopefully some of you might take one action now and ask your BC MLA candidate if they support the 8 Recommendations of the BC Medical Association in their February policy paper on ADHD. Currently BC has NO Strategy at all on ADHD, Adults with ADHD are especially ignored, ADHD is costing BC billions annually, and the BC Liberal Party, the BC NDP, and the BC Green Party have all ignored the recommendations, they have nothing at all in their platforms for ADHD. Hopefully BC ADDers won’t be abandoned again.

If you don’t know your riding use the BC MLA finder

List of  BC Liberal Party candidates

List of BC NDP candidates

List of BC Green Party candidates

List of BC MLA candidates on twitter

28 thoughts on “12 Ways to Fight Mental Health Stigma With Social Media”

  1. Thank you, Pete, for such a thoughtful response. I wish people were prepared to face mental illnesses as easily as they are with other illnesses. It’s like a flu, like hemophaelia, like every other disease. It’s a disease and it can be cured!

  2. You’re welcome Raul, thanks for helping to organize mental health camp. Just a clarification some mental health conditions like dysthymia, & depression can be cured, some like ADHD can’t, once you have ADHD as adult, you have it for life, but you can learn to manage it more effectively and use it more as a strength and a competitive edge and less as a problem.

  3. All great ideas! I’m inspired. Besides writing about this topic, I’ve noticed, you’re also walking your talk, with this blog, your presence on Twitter, and apparently in many other ways as well. Thanks for the good work!

  4. Thanks for the insight Pete. The suggestions are excellent. I expected ideas addressing mental health from the inside out, but these are suggestions that everyone can participate in. Done 1, 2, 6, and 7 for this post in minutes -very easy/achievable. Thanks again for your contribution to MentalHealthCamp, wish I could have been there.

  5. Thanks Kathleen, I appreciate it. I do my best but I do often fall down myself from time to time, no illusion of perfection on my part:)

    Thanks Shaun, glad you took some action, you’re right about the achievable part, I think sometimes more people might get involved in using social media that they’re already using to help fight stigma if they realized that there’s many levels to do it from, and you don’t have to go all out all the time on every item that you feel is useful out there.

    You can follow the #mhc09 on twitter and probably on some blogs too and go to the mental health camp site later there will be more info posted there

  6. Something I’ve heard time and time again is that we should learn to use “people first” language … instead of saying ‘that person is a schitzophrenic’ … it would be more appropriate to say “that person has schitzophrenia” or “he/she is a person with a mental illness” also limiting language such as saying it was a “manic monday” and saying it was an exciting or invigorating Monday” can help to break down stigmas. Other things you can do include pointing out the positives of a mental illness and finding things that the person with the mental illness is good at and build on those strengths instead of telling those around them how horrible it is to have a mental illness, they can present something that is a strength and cause the strength to overshadow the label that society has placed on them….. I’m rediscovering my creative label which has been long overshadowed by my struggles, but I’m learning to use those struggles through my writing to help others so maybe they don’t have to struggle as hard as I did …. basically turning something that isn’t cool into something that can be usefull in some way.

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