Authors: Tanya Blazewicz, Oliver Keane
Event: 2019 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Meme-ingful Consumer Engagement - Connecting Online with Young People who use Mental Health Services.
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Tanya Blazewicz - Peer Ambassador for SANE Australia, Deputy Chair of the SA Office of the Chief Psychiatrist Lived Experience Reference Group - first experienced symptoms of mental distress at age 11, but did not seek help until age 24. Now she is an advocate for early intervention in mental health (be that clinical or non-clinical), and uses her lived experience as a Peer Worker at emerge – a step up from headspace program for young people who need extra help and support.
Oliver Keane - Oliver Keane is currently working as headspace Onkaparinga’s Community Engagement Leader. Before this, he completed his Bachelor of Education and Arts, and is a registered Primary School teacher. He has a special interest in education and resources around youth wellbeing, particularly within marginalised groups.
Advocates are using social media more than ever, yet it still remains a relatively unexplored avenue for consumer, carer and community engagement in Mental Health. In other areas of health, online activity has become more organised, allowing it to inform service delivery. This empowers young advocates to use their voice. We know that young people with mental illness are Tweeting, Gramming, and Facebooking about their journey, but very few services are tapping into this resource as a way to promote recovery and inform policy change. Research has shown that young people prefer helping their peers with their mental health struggles rather than "burdening" others with their own story. As such, forums and online support groups are often utilised. Improving health literacy, and developing multimedia skills, can be applied to other areas of life and assist in recovery. So why aren't we jumping on board with technology?
In this talk, Tanya Blazewicz a peer worker for headspace describes how she uses Twitter to consult with, get buy-in, and feedback from, young people with lived experience on various projects - including a distress tolerance tool for self harm. Oliver Keane, community engagement leader, describes how to tailor posts to increase Facebook engagement, and how to go viral.
Learning Objective 1: People in the audience will take away new ways to involve younger advocates in consumer engagement at all levels, be it grass roots, state health services consumer and carer groups, statewide or even nation wide policy change. Furthermore, those looking to attract young people to their service or events will be exposed to a variety of ways to do so.
Learning Objective 2: Sharing stories is a great way to provide hope for recovery, this is what makes peer work successful. With the internet, we have a thousand stories at our fingertips. Human connection is just a click away. Why not use this for good? We are not suggesting that online is the future of mental health, but that in partnership with face to face it could help complete the picture in a gap-filled system.
#HealtheVoicesAU 2018. (2018). [Blog] Type 1 Writes. Available at: https://www.type1writes.com/2018/11/21/healthevoicesau-2018/ [Accessed 27 Mar. 2019].
Norman C, Yip A. (2012) eHealth promotion and social innovation with youth: using social and visual media to engage diverse communities. Studies in health technology and informatics (online) 172:54-70.
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