The Digital Conversationalist

Andrea T Edwards

Calling all mental health professionals to lead socially

A huge issue all around the world, is mental health. This is due to the pandemic and the associated economic fall-out, and by all accounts, it’s not going to be over anytime soon. Here’s a sample of articles from around the world over the last 12 months.

WHO – World Health Organisation

US – The Implications of COVID-19 for Mental Health and Substance Use

Ghana – Government must scale up mental health services amid coronavirus pandemic

WEF – Experts explain how to manage mental wellbeing during COVID-19 – Coronavirus and your mental health

Thailand – Thai Department of Mental Health encourages public mental health checks during pandemic

Australia – Advocates call for ‘lifesaving’ mental health clinics in Victoria to be replicated across Australia

As we rapidly head towards passing the 12 month mark of this global pandemic, we all know this situation is going to get worse. In developed countries, especially those dealing with unmanaged outbreaks, mental health is a huge issue and will continue to be the case.

In developing countries, where the pandemic is often not the primary issue, but the economic fall-out is, I’m hearing of people unable to get out of bed because there is nothing to get up for. Another issue in many developing countries is mental health is not something traditionally part of the social support structure, so it is not being addressed.

There is a third category we must factor in too. People working on the front lines and people donating their time, money and effort towards helping those most in need, and well, they are exhausted. They won’t stop, but despair is growing for them too. The situation has no end and that is having a big impact on their mental health.

Globally, we must recognize that this is a HUGE issue, and if we want to come out the other side stronger, we need strategies to ensure it is addressed. However, as I’m sure you’re aware, I am not a mental health expert. But what I do know is how to get a powerful message out over social media.

And so, to all in my community who are mental health experts (and please pass this to those you know in this field), I am reaching out to you to say, now is the time to step into your voice and help the people most in need. This is not paid work, it is a service, but it is a much-needed service that will help solve this problem around the world.

We need experts in all countries, in all languages and on all social media platforms, sharing their knowledge and wisdom on how to take care of mental health. The topics are wide and varied and you are best placed to understand the issues. What I’m seeing and hearing includes:

1.    How to get out of depression

2.    How to deal with anxiety

3.    How to deal with feelings of worthlessness

4.    How to deal with job loss

5.    How to cope with zero income coming in

6.    How to deal with self-abuse – check out this Website for some great insights

7.    How to deal with anger issues, before acting out that anger towards people they love

And on it goes.

If I was a mental health expert, I would define the key issues my community is grappling with. List them out, and put them in priority order.

So if it’s depression, I’d define depression and how it impacts people.

Then I’d do regular shares on strategies and tactics to help people deal with or emerge from depression. Equally, you could talk to people who have someone in their family or community impacted by depression, which is equally as important.

Once you know what you want to say, it’s important to work out the best way to communicate, based on the social media channels popular in your country, as well as how your community likes to receive information.

It could be video – launch a YouTube channel, post videos on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Line, WeChat and more. Or go Live – multiple platforms have this function.

It could be written –  writing blogs delivering tips to help your community move forward.

It could be images – photos, memes, designs with quotes or tip of the day.

There are many ways to participate on social media and many different platforms, so if you’re not doing anything yet, select one. Build from there.

I absolutely appreciate that if you have not done anything like this before, it can feel incredibly daunting. It’s all about finding your starting point and believing in your ability to make an impact. Please believe. We need you.

The starting point is understanding the issue/s your community is facing, and working out what you want to say to help them deal with it. This is your focus.

Next is where your audience is. Which social channels are most popular, as well as how your audience likes to receive information. Different ages have different priorities and use different social media platforms. However, the rule of law is younger audiences tend towards video and older audiences tend towards reading.

However, video is always powerful if literacy is low in your country. That being said, video only works when people have access to strong Wi-Fi networks. It’s important to think this through.

For developing countries without strong mobile penetration, and limited access to technology, including Wi-Fi, go old school. Create flyers to deliver to communities across your country. Print it out and send it everywhere. If the expense of doing this is too high, work with a designer in your country and ask the government to fund it. This is a problem government’s need to solve. Help them solve it.

It’s time to stand up

We have multiple issues facing humanity. I believe if we have an area of expertise and a point of view that is relevant to solving these issues, then it is time to stand up and add our voice, our ideas, our solutions and our love. This is the best of social media. There is always too much focus is on what’s bad about it. Let’s embrace its beauty and make the world a better place.

One question you may have is: I need to earn money. How can I give my knowledge away for free?

I totally understand this, especially at a time of economic downturn and hardship. However, for more than a decade, I’ve been giving my knowledge away for free and guess what, this is what attracts business to you.

When you are a social leader, your audience gets to know you and what you stand for. They build trust in you. If they know you can solve their problems, you will gain profile, build your business AND contribute to making the world a better place.

That is what social leadership delivers. Right now, we need mental health experts to step into their voices. We need everyone who can solve the world’s biggest issues to step into their voices too. But let’s start with mental health.

When you own your voice, you own your future.

Equally, when you own your voice, you help define our collective future!

That’s on all of us. Step up!

If you want to have a discussion on how to do this, I would be very happy to set up a group Zoom call, a Clubhouse chat, or whatever else works. Just let me know. Whatever it takes to help the world, I’m here to support.



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I believe it’s time for all of us to embrace our voice and embrace the future. We do this by working and living ‘out loud’ with meaning, intention, integrity and by being true to ourselves. If you own your voice, you own your future.

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