Hello TWOM readers. My name is Victoria. You can find me on Twitter @VictoriaBetton and on Facebook as Digital Mental Health. I also have a blog which you can find here. I work for an NHS Trust and I’m also in the second year of a part time PhD at the Institute of Communications within the University of Leeds.
I decided to go back to studying because I have become increasingly curious about how people with lived experience of mental health difficulties and how mental health practitioners are using social media. And I wanted to find out more. I’m wondering what difference, if any, social media is making to people in the mental health sphere. How are people using social media to live well? How are people using it to make connections and build networks? Are people using and providing mental health services talking to each other online, and if so, what difference is it making? If/how are people challenging negative stereotypes often found in the newspapers and on TV? What is the sum total of all of this activity and is it making a difference to mental health services?
Zarathustra and Pandora have very kindly allowed me to spend the next 18 months or so focusing on the TWOM blog to help me answer these and many other questions I have niggling in my brain. I am curious about TWOM because of all its connections both through blogs, Twitter and Facebook; it is a fascinating mix of people with both lived and professional experience.
So what does this mean to TWOM and the people who guest edit and comment on the blog? Very little I hope. I will avoid getting in the way and plan to continue to comment and connect as I do now.
If you write a blog connected to TWOM and I would like to ask to include it in my study, then I’ll get in contact to ask permission. I will always respect people’s confidentiality and anonymity and of course anyone has the right to say they don’t want to be involved.
I hope to do some email based interviews with people who are connected to the TWOM blog. If you are interested in being interviewed then I’d love to hear from you.
I also plan to set up an online group to have conversations about my research findings with a group of interested people who have lived experience of mental health difficulties and who work in the field and who have a related interest. I’d welcome advice about the best space to do this in, and if you’d be up for being involved.
If you have any questions or comments about this research, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. The best way is via my University email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope my research study will be useful for the TWOM blog and people connected to it and I hope it will help mental health practitioners and services improve their understanding of social media and its potential to positively affect change.
Thank you, Victoria 🙂