Social Contact is vital to Mental Health

Social Contact is vital to Mental Health

I met with Keith Winestein at Time To Change’s #SoMe event this week. I’ve known Keith a while – he was one of the first people to really think about how platforms like Twitter can be used for social good.

We seem to be hitting one of those times again when social platforms are being asked to prove how relevant and good they actually can be.

It’s true, a lot of people in particular have tried Twitter and been turned off.

I’ve always thought that for all Twitter (and often is) used as a broadcast channel, it’s still a great way of people connecting around causes.

The most interesting interactions on Twitter happen between groups of people with 200 followers, not between celebrities and their fans.

The concept of #SoMe is to take the best bits of Twitter –  the connections – and apply them to the real world.

Volunteers with lived experience of mental health issues contributed “profiles” of themselves. We then picked someone to have a conversation with.

really excited to be here [@I_W_M](https://twitter.com/I_W_M) for [@TimetoChange](https://twitter.com/TimetoChange) ‘s [#SoMe](https://twitter.com/hashtag/SoMe?src=hash) event [#mentalhealth](https://twitter.com/hashtag/mentalhealth?src=hash) [#timetochange](https://twitter.com/hashtag/timetochange?src=hash) [pic.twitter.com/leLSQiwxd1](http://t.co/leLSQiwxd1)
>
> — vineeta (@vineetaseh) [October 8, 2015](https://twitter.com/vineetaseh/status/652101635469131776)

I had a conversation with Sharon, a Biopolar sufferer who had set up her own [Facebook page](https://www.facebook.com/BIPOLARIISUFFERER) to connect people with Bipolar with each other. The conversations are incredibly powerful and human.

The stigma around mental health issues is gradually being removed – this week the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will visit a [local Mind centre](http://www.mind.org.uk/news-campaigns/news/duke-and-duchess-of-cambridge-to-shine-spotlight-on-world-mental-health-day/#.VhegxBNVhHw) – but it’s still quite hard for people to open up.

Yet when we do – we often find that conversation changes everything. It gives new perspectives. It unlocks empathy. It solves problems.

#SoMe, like Social Media, is a great way into these conversations.

Everyone stands together in a circle of love and trust. We glimpse a rainbow: we have dignity in mental health.”

Marian [@Krysan1](https://twitter.com/Krysan1)
>
> — #Winological (@KeithWinestein) [October 9, 2015](https://twitter.com/KeithWinestein/status/652427113564381184)

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