I have been on Twitter for a few years. I am not an active tweeter, and have used it at times to to communicate with friends, and coworkers I shared an office with. It was more of an entertaining way to communicate than an information sharing tool.
During the last year I have been using Twitter more at conferences as a way to join the conversation and participate on a deeper, more meaningful way. I would tweet quotes from inspiring key note speakers, follow presenters, and post questions to the conference main page and use the conference hashtag to connect with other conference attendees.
This week I explored #mentalhealth on Twitter. I wanted to see what was out there and learn about what non-profits, and other organizations that serve children, youth, and families, post on twitter, and see how users connect with them. I started my search by entering “children’s mental health”, “addiction”, and “behavioral health” in the search bar. I found a few organizations that lead me to others. This was interesting and a good start, however after reviewing Chapter4 in Mansfield’s book Social Media for Social Good, I went to the discover tab on Twitter and entered #mentalhealth. Using the broad category of #mentalhealth was a much more effective strategy for finding relevant and engaging tweets. Users who included the #mentalhealth in their tweets ranged in topics and I was excited to see the big leagues (NAMI–National Alliance of Mental Health, APA–American Psychiatric Association, and even NIMH–National Institute of Mental Health) posting regularly. I was really surprised at the level of engagement of major mental health organizations and how accessible twitter makes users.
Another surprise was seeing how these organizations retweeted (and were retweeted by) other users. This web of stories strung together by being shared and re-shared by users was fascinating to me. In a very concrete way you can see professional collaborations and networks. This is something funders have been asking for on the service side, and being able to demonstrate this kind of communication strategy of information sharing collaboration would be very beneficial to non-profits. One group I came across @MentalHealthAM (Mental Health America–non-profit advocacy group) retweeted a video @CAMH (Canada’s Centre for Mental Health and Addiction) posted about an awesome app for youth to help them manage and access their mental health services and safety plan (why oh why didn’t I think of this!?)
Another discovery I made this week was seeing how advanced some Mental Health organizations are becoming using social media tools and technology like infographics and videos. Check out this infographic on #mentalhealth and diverse populations.
This week the main topic of conversation with #mentalhealth was discrimination and acceptance of people with mental illness. Mental Health leaders were posting videos, discussions, and pictures that all focused on this. It was great to see smaller non-profit service and advocacy agencies represented in the feed. I was spending way too much time on here and had to remind myself I am not the social media person at my job!