Before you start planning content for your blog, it’s important to think about what to share. Mental health can be a sensitive subject – it’s ok not to bare all online. In this post, I’m going to break down things to consider when you’re posting content online to help you decide how much you want to share.
what to share on your mental health blog
But first – why share?
Sharing your own mental health stories let people see that they’re not alone. It lets you get your thoughts and feelings out there allows you to express yourself. What you say will probably relate to someone even if they haven’t been in the exact situation.
Sharing personal stories expresses yourself and shows what you’ve been through. It’s a way of talking about whatever you want to talk about, creating the space you want. These can be a great way of opening up and letting your readers see what it’s like.
However, when sharing personal stories, you may need to leave out things that could be triggering. I’d recommend not talking in graphic detail about sensitive subjects such as self-harm or weight-loss methods as it could be triggering.
The Internet is a global platform, and you can put a trigger warning on your posts which I’d recommend if the subject is sensitive. However people can always read past that warning, so the choice is yours if you share that graphic content or not.
Also, you may not want to share everything personally online. Names of people/organisations should be removed unless you have their permission to post them. A friend who helped stop you from harming yourself could get some uncomfortable questions over the experience if they are named.
Again this depends on you. There are organisations like the NHS or a charity that’s helped you that I’d leave in. The first names of friends may be fine, but personally, I’d change them if I didn’t have permission. You can mark the first one with an asterisk (*) and leave a note at the end of your blog the names have been changed.
Sometimes naming people could have legal consequences which I’m not even going to try and advise you on. If you’re talking negatively (e.g. after seeing this doctor, I went out and hurt myself), then watch out for these coming up.
My rule of thumb here is if you’re both happy to be mentioned, then go for it. Otherwise, maybe leave out the full details here.
Your opinion is basically your thoughts and reaction to the world of mental health.
So you could be giving your thoughts on the latest news and decisions by the government and other decision-makers within the sphere of mental health. You could talk about personal stories, things you’ve found touching or moving.
You can also talk about TV series any other media and give your thoughts on them. Shows such as Love Island have ignited conversations about mental health, and you may want to chime in with those.
You can also give your thoughts on just the world around us. Making places more accessible for mental health, campaigning for better care for those with mental health. You can just talk about anything you’re passionate about here.
Sometimes you may want to share your thoughts on the latest mental health podcast, book or anything else you could review. These are often smaller posts but can be packed with value. Go by what your audience wants, see if they have any requests for you.
Advice is a popular one, and if you’ve got some useful tips, you’ll probably be sharing them under an ‘advice’ category. Advice is anything mental health-related that is going to make life easier for other people.
You could share a tip that you find helpful or a technique that works well for you. When sharing advice, make it understandable for someone who may not have heard of the technique before. So instead of saying “the butterfly technique” – say “drawing a butterfly on my wrist helps reduce my self-harm because xyz.”
When giving advice, I’d recommend being generic rather than talking about medication or alternative therapies. Personally, I don’t feel in the qualified position to talk about this. Again you don’t have to copy the format of my blog here, but it might be worth considering whether this is something worth talking about.
Mental health events
These are covering things such as Eating Disorders Awareness Week, or MHAW 2019, which happened last May. Keeping up to date with the mental health community is essential, and if you want to showcase these events, this can be great.
However, don’t let them become stressful. For mental health awareness week, I did a live video, blog post and spent time on social media every day, giving it as much coverage as I can. This took a few weeks of planning to make sure everything went well.
If this is going to be a stress, or you can’t block out time to work on it, then you don’t have to do things BIG. But a blog post here and there goes a long way to show your recognition of the mental health community.
Mental Health as a section
If you already have a health/lifestyle blog, then mental health doesn’t have to be its own separate thing. You can add it in as a section – a topic you cover – but does not become the main focus of your site. If you’re not comfortable with talking about mental health all the time, then this could be the option for you.
It also means you’ve got a bigger niche to expand into if you want to blog more about lifestyle rather than mental health in the future. Keep your options open but still keeping it niched is the key when you’re just starting.
So many options
When it comes to content, there are so many options with what you could write. Experiment a little and see what works for you. While you can look at your analytics to see what is and isn’t working when it comes to mental health, I’d recommend going with what you feel comfortable with and enjoy writing first.
Be original with it. Try types of content that haven’t really been done – mental health infographics and video are few and far between, and you may want to include some of this content on your site.
Remember that what you put out there may stay. Blogs can be screenshotted and archived. The same is true for social posts. Make sure whatever you put out there you’re comfortable with and are 100% comfortable with sharing.
But once you’ve found that, then go ahead and share it with the world. Speak to your community; see what they want you to write. Have fun with it, try a few things and enjoy the journey of content that will go up on your blog.
By Jake Symons
Jake Symons is an entrepreneur and passionate mental health advocate determined to share his story to help others. Alongside writing on this blog he hosts Mental Monday: Mental Health Live a biweekly intimate and unscripted conversation about mental health.