The stigma around mental health has not gone away. What’s changed is the conversation. #WorldMentalHealthDay on October 10 is a big reason the conversation has shifted. It’s an opportunity to learn about the diverse challenges people face, but it’s also a chance to drive social change.
Over the years, we have seen countless creative uses of Twitter for #MentalHealthAwareness including live Q&As and Twitter Spaces discussions with mental health organisations, experts sharing mental health tips and resources, and people opening up about their individual mental health concerns.
Often, people are unsure where to turn for assistance, or are reluctant to do so for a variety of reasons, including lack of understanding and the fear of being stigmatised. Committed to serving these conversations, @TwitterIndia in partnership with The Health Collective (@healthcollectif), has set up a Twitter Circle with the aim of fostering positive conversations to raise awareness about #MentalHealth in a safe space. Twitter Circle puts power into the hands of people by creating a new way for them to control how they show up online and feel safe expressing themselves; it’s a community within their community.
One of the myths around mental health is that it will not affect all of us. 1 in 4 people will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime, which is why we need to get more comfortable having these conversations. #MentalHealthTwitter has brought mental health advocates, storytellers and those with lived experience together, and enabled The Health Collective to nurture empathy, understanding and awareness, and remind us that whatever we’re going through, we’re not alone.
Over time, we’ve expanded our work with NGOs to identify, connect, and engage vulnerable people across the world. In 2020, we launched a dedicated search prompt in India with the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS). When someone searches for terms associated with suicide or self-harm, the top search result will be a #ThereIsHelp search prompt directing them to life-saving resources on the service.
We continue to work with various mental health partners across the globe to raise awareness, amplify conversations around mental health on Twitter, and encourage honest conversations. This year, in India, we have partnered with various organisations including Fortis Mental Health (@fortis_mhbs), LiveLoveLaugh Foundation (@TLLLFoundation), Mpower Minds (@mpowerminds), and Centre for Mental Health, Law and Policy (@CMHLPIndia) to raise awareness around mental health. The partnerships are meant to de-stigmatise conversations around mental health, reinforce stories of positivity and hope; and share resources available to those experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression. We also donate #AdsforGood grants to mental health partners for amplifying these conversations throughout the year.
Here’s what some of our partners have to say:
At the Fortis National Mental Health Program, we have been working closely with Twitter India and have done significant work with a focus on mental health awareness and well-being. Our partnership with Twitter has helped spread the message of mental health as a priority for all; our one month campaign (Sept 10, 2022 to Oct 10, 2022) 'Every Second Counts' touched over 6 million lives.
Most people ignore mental health and initiatives surrounding it have long been neglected despite the need. Mental Health Day is significant because it allows individuals to discuss mental health globally. Mpower works with local governments and other partners to reduce stigma and discrimination and increase access to care. To make global well-being a priority, we must all raise knowledge of effective preventative mental health therapies. For us, Twitter has proven beneficial as it helped us reach our various stakeholders and young audiences through sustained and informative conversations on Mental health. In the last 2 years, we have been able to touch over 10 million lives via our outreach and promotions on Twitter.
Since our inception in 2015, LiveLoveLaugh has had the opportunity to improve the lives of people with mental illness through awareness-building and stigma reduction programs. We’ve also participated in mental health conversations on Twitter and spread the message of hope to those experiencing stress, anxiety, and depression.
There are ways to integrate mental health and self-care reminders into your experience on Twitter through the use of #GoodBots Some examples include: @selfcare_bot which tweets hourly reminders to take care of yourself, @tinycarebot that reminds people to take a break, @MindfullyYours which is a mindfulness meditation bot, @MeditationBot_ which is another bot to promote meditation, and more. To make it easier to identify #GoodBots on Twitter, we have labels that identify bots with an “automated” designation in their profile, an icon of a robot, and a link to the Twitter handle of the person who created the bot.
If you want to be a part of amplifying the conversation around better mental health, you can Tweet with the following hashtags #WorldMentalHealthDay, #WMHD, #MentalHealthForAll, #MentalHealth, #MentalHealthMatters, #OnMyMind, #TellAMate, #विश्वमानसिकस्वास्थ्यदिवस, #सभीकेलिएमानसिकस्वास्थ्य, #मानसिकस्वास्थ्य that will activate our special emoji in partnership with the World Federation for Mental Health from now until 12 October.
Twitter isn’t the only way to reach people, but it is a way to reach millions of people who might not know where to turn or that there are other people who feel like they do. While the stigma won’t change overnight, it’s still true that change begins with us. Each compassionate Tweet brings the global conversation together to raise awareness and normalise the discussion around mental health. #MentalHealthMatters, and it should be a global priority for all.