What’s the best way to build social media capacity?

What’s the best way to build social media capacity?

What’s the best way of building capacity for people using and working in mental health services to capitalise on the opportunities afforded by social media?  And of course to be alert to the challenges and learn how to navigate them.

There are, no doubt, many ways to do this and we’re having an experiment with a social media surgery and series of workshops in Leeds. You can find out more about the day here.

Social media surgeries are an established concept and you may question why we didn’t just encourage people using and working in mental health services to participate in those.  There’s a fantastic one already up and running at The Round Foundry in Leeds. Surely that would be a more inclusive and sustainable approach?

Well yes… but I’m intrigued by the idea of bringing people using and working in services together on equal terms as both experts and learners. Some of our social media surgeons and workshop facilitators bring lived experience of mental health difficulties. Some bring perspectives as workers in voluntary and statutory sector organisations. Some are volunteers and others are community journalists. We have some social media experts with little knowledge of mental health at all. We’re hoping this mix will create a co-productive space where we can share learning together and possibly develop a network of enthusiasts who will continue to connect over a mutual interest. We hope the mix of surgery space, workshops and open space for people to chat, will create opportunities for people to come together in ways which suit them. And of course we’ll be using lots of different methods to share our learning via social media for people who can’t get there on the day.

If you’d like to book on to our social media surgery you can do so here or chance your luck and turn up on the day.

If you’ve organised something similar and have some tips. Or if you have taken a different approach that you’d like to share. I’d be very interested to hear from you.

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  1. I agre with you, having a broader perspective on any subect generally leads to greater insight. There is still a lot that needs to be done to create awareness regarding mental health and illness and like we say during our weekly #TopicsToDiscuss on twitter: every open and honest conversation brings us one step closer to acceptance and a judgement free world.

    I applaud you for also giving a voice to those who generally suffer in silence. I hope we’ll all learn a few more things through this social media surgery

    Keep up the great work <3

    • Thank you very much for taking the time to comment and for your kind words and I love your vision for a judgement free world 🙂

  2. I’m running the blogging workshop at the event and have little/no experience of the mental health sector. What I’m really interested in is high quality content that helps people learn, share information and insights, connect with other people and position their expertise. Social media excites me because I’m a communications expert and it has completely changed the way people communicate in business – you can be constantly soaking up and sharing useful information and have multiple conversations at any one time from your desk.
    In preparation for the session, I’m doing lots of research into how mental health patients and practitioners are using blogging and other social media to share their thoughts and feelings and raise awareness/reduce stigma around issues. What I’m finding is that there is huge potential for using blogging for both therapy and changing attitudes – but there are many hurdles to overcome first, mainly around fear. When I advise businesses on how to create employee social media policies, I encourage them to focus on the opportunities rather than just the risks – and the same is true here. Mistakes will be made and sensitive issues will be exposed but for it to really work, social media has to be embraced as a means of freely sharing and debating, no matter what the subject.

    • Thank you for your thoughtful comments and also for running a workshop at our event! I really like the common threads you identify between advising a business and doing the same with people working in and using mental health services – some similar issues and concerns. We can get overwhelmed with all the risks which prevent us from appreciating the opportunities. I’m really interested in how NHS Trusts engage in that free sharing and debating and am aware we can feel there are many barriers even with just a corporate account. I’m looking forward to participating in your workshop and learning from your experiences 🙂


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