The unconference MentalHealthCamp on social media and mental health happens on April 25 in Vancouver, BC and online. Organizers hope it will become a model adopted elsewhere in the world.
The one day program includes a discussion on therapist/client social media boundaries, talks on anonymous blogging, mommy blogging with a mental disorder, blogging as therapy, blogging for students, ADHD, yoga and depression with a blog, and my own presentation on crowdsourcing peer mental health info with social video PSA contests and suicide prevention on Twitter. Featured speakers include Keely Kolmes, Lorraine Murphy, Darren Barefoot, Pete Quily, and many more.
Peer resources and crowdsourcing with peers is hot. From a comment left by Robert Johnson at the MentalHealthCamp blog:
“The reality is that client groups truly are exerting agency and taking matters into their own hands. In the past, traditional therapy allowed for very little contact among client populations. Group therapy may have presented the only opportunity for client interactions, and even those situations were often restricted in theme and content and closely monitored by professionals. It has been my sense that the primary breakthrough the web has provided is an opportunity for peers to come together not only for mutual support, but to compare notes and opinions in ways and settings that were never open to them in the past.
“While the profession may see these developments as potentially undermining their previous hold on the therapeutic milieu, peer-generated mental health support on the web is widespread and unlikely to moderate any time soon. Those looking for support often spend considerably more time in such groups, and often discuss issues more openly than they currently do with their own therapists.
“The dynamics of such groups are complex, and the breadth of value that such groups provide is, despite their years of existence, still wide open to investigation.”
That’s something I’m investigating in my talk and others will touch on as part of theirs. Follow me live, early April 25 @unsuicide.
Psychotherapist Isabella Mori (of the blog moritherapy) is the event’s co-organizer along with social media expert Raul Pacheco-Vega.
“Social media can be therapeutic.” Mori said. “Sometimes an individual’s need for support feels overwhelming. Individuals get a feeling of relief when they can read someone else describe a struggle that they are privately experiencing. This validation is priceless, and is one piece of professional therapy that patients find so helpful.”
We are asking questions such as
- How can blogging help decrease the stigma of mental health?
- How does someone with a mental illness navigate the waters of anonymity in the transparent world of social media?
- How is the journaling that happens in blogging similar to or different from journaling for healing?
- How can social media participants with mental health issues help each other?
Register here to attend IRL. Admission to MentalHealthCamp, which includes a lunch provided by the BC Mental Health Foundation, is by donation with no one turned away for lack of funds. Follow the official Twitter feed @MentalHealthC and for more information, or to volunteer for the event, email [email protected]