How to Write about Mental Health Online
Here are some suggestions to help you when sharing mental health experiences, either your own or someone else’s, while on Inside A Dog.
Writing about your mental health can be good for you! Expressing yourself in writing has been shown to help with stress and even the immune system! It can be a way to learn to understand yourself and your brain and your behavior. It can be helpful to sort out your thoughts, to look back on and a way to reflect and think deeply about your experiences. Here at Inside A Dog we want you to use this platform to express yourself but encourage you to be safe and supported while blogging.
When you want to write about what’s going on inside your mind, consider this:
Should I write this in a private journal?
Should I write this on a public forum?
Should I write a song?
Should I write a poem?
If you chose to write on a public forum about your mental health experience, it is important to understand that:
Your words will be published and will exist for some time.
Your words will be read and interpreted by the public i.e. people you don’t know and who don’t know you.
When writing about personal mental health experiences on a public forum you might have to be extra resilient. You are putting yourself out there on a platform where comments are enabled. You will be vulnerable. Be resilient to the comments that come your way. People can be very supportive, but they might ask questions or want to talk to you about their own mental health experience. It is important to be aware of this, and comfortable with that possibility, before you post.
Things to remember when commenting on a mental health blog:
Be kind to yourself and others.
You are not mental health professionals – it is not your job to diagnose or assist. Be supportive but not prescriptive.
Everyone’s experience is unique and valid, there is no need to compare or compete.
If you ask more questions, do not expect answers. Just because someone has revealed something personal does not mean they want talk about it further.
Things to remember when receiving comments on a mental health blog:
Be kind to yourself and others.
They are not comments from mental health professionals – don’t expect diagnosis or assistance. If you need help, please see the list of support services below.
Everyone’s experience is unique and valid and there is no need to compare or compete.
If you are asked more questions, you do not have to engage or answer. Just because you have revealed something personal does not mean you have to talk about it further if you do not want to.
When writing about personal mental health experiences on a public forum you need to be responsible:
Use trigger warnings and content warnings if writing about experiences.
Be aware of your language. Avoid using diagnosable conditions in a nonclinical sense. i.e. using terms like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia out of context.
Include links to helpful websites.
Here is a list of website links to use,
- headspace (mental health service for ages 12-25) www.headspace.org.au – call 1800 650 890
- Kids Helpline www.kidshelpline.com.au – call 1800 55 1800
- ReachOut.com (youth mental health service)www.au.reachout.com – online help
- SANE Australia (people living with a mental illness) www.sane.org– call 1800 18 7263
- Lifeline (support for anyone having a personal crisis) www.lifeline.org.au– call 13 11 14
- Suicide Call Back Service (anyone thinking about suicide) www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au – call 1300 659 467
- Youthbeyondblue beyond blue’s youth program – call 1300 22 4636