Online Mental Health Support: Good or Bad Idea?

TwitterLogoSocial media is full of information. Full of organizations, people and websites all claiming to be able to support someone living with mental illness. Here’s the challenge: there are as many reasons why someone has depression as there are people living with the disease. Yes, that’s right: mental illness is a disease. There is no magic bullet or fast fix that will treat the disease of mental illness. We do a complete disservice to those living with a mental disorder when we refuse to recognize that mental illness is a disease requiring a host of treatments that should be tailored to the individual.

No one is going to overcome their emotional pain by reading nice quotes online or by doing yoga or by being told to take a walk or get some fresh air.

Online mental health resources provide useful information but are not a replacement for professional support and treatment. That said, there are many mental health organizations and advocacy groups that do important and life-affirming work in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Some of these groups have online chat rooms where a person can share with anonymity. There are races and bike rides that raise money online to support mental health programs in communities. Sometimes a kind word from a stranger can make a small difference.

Below are a few online groups that I think are doing good work in mental health and are at the very least a good first resource.

Mental Health Outreach:
@crisiscentrebc
@CMHA (Across Canada)
@DC_TO
@FMHISC
@MobilizingMinds
@MoodDisordersCa
@TheRoyalMHC
@FAMEforFAMILIES
@mindcheck_ca
@CAMHnews

 Mental Health Awareness and Suicide Prevention:
@forwardFORlife
@suicideresearch
@cspyyc
@GrassrootsSP