#TalkMH is a mental health Twitter chat that I started in August 2016. After I discovered that writing about mental health could help people via my blog, I wanted to take it further. I tried to come up with different projects and #TalkMH was the only one of them that actually happened! At the time, there were loads of Twitter chats around but none on mental health specifically, that I knew of. I thought it would be a good way of opening up the conversation and encouraging people to talk about their mental health. As this is something that people can find quite difficult, I wanted to provide a space that was free of judgement and specifically for people who know what it’s like. That way, people could give and receive support.
I also wanted to educate. I believe that one of the main causes of mental health stigma is lack of education, so by having different topics hosted by different people each week, it allows people to find out more about the illnesses that they don’t have experience of. This then means that we can better support each other as well as decreasing stigma about difficult subjects, or those that aren’t talked about much.
Creating #TalkMH has been useful for my own mental health, too. Some of the people I’ve met through #TalkMH have become brilliant friends that I talk to daily, and they’re a fantastic support. As well as that though, #TalkMH provided a sense of purpose when I couldn’t find one myself. Trying to help other people became a huge part of my life and using my experience to help others has changed my whole outlook on life. One of the things that I love most about it is that I think it provides a sense of community that can be vital when you’re struggling. At my worst, I felt incredibly isolated and almost completely alone which only worsened things. Knowing that other people are there and that they know what you’re going through can be extremely powerful.
I never expected the reaction we got, though. Some people have written blog posts about #TalkMH or sent me messages that have brought me to tears (in a good way) – I keep them for when I’m feeling low. It is so great to see the chat grow week on week and it’s become my little baby. There was one occasion on which some trolls got involved and tried to spoil it but they didn’t. Everybody came together even more and had each other’s backs – including mine – and it was like nothing I’d ever experienced before. The level of support was unbelievable and it only seems to grow every week.
Hannah blogs at Little Thoughts