MentalHealthCamp – a whole conference about mental health and blogging

northern voice 2009 logo by bascocoping digitally, a session at the 2009 northern voice blogging conference that talked about the intersection of blogging and mental health and how social media can help derease the stigma of mental health was a real success.  raul did a live blog of the session. thanks, raul!

the overwhelming feedback, during and after the session, face-to-face and digitally, was that the conversation needs to be continued.

so – we are thinking of putting together MentalHealthCamp, an (un)conference that will deal specifically with the topic.  raul (@hummingbird604 on twitter) already did a post on it!

right now the idea is to put together such a conference in vancouver some time in april, with sessions that are at least 90 minutes – these are topics that we can’t just plow through, there needs to be time for reflection and conversation.  we could run concurrent sessions if we have a lot of proposals.

in the meantime, feel free to continue the discussion digitally here on my blog. i’m thinking about writing specific blog posts about the issues that have arisen so far.  anything you’re burning to talk about, let me know!

and once again, here are airdrie’s blog and tod’s, the two other people on the panel.  a huge thanks to airdrie once again for getting this ball rolling so well!

questions to you, my good readers and commenters:

would you be interested in participating in MentalHealthCamp?

“participating” means anything from attending the conference to volunteering to put it together to giving presentations.

right now my thought is that we might even be able to do a mixed online/face-to-face session where people who cannot make it to vancouver could perhaps participate via a combination of live-blogging and twitter.

UPDATE: here is the wiki for MentalHealthCamp – for those of you who want to participate.

(the northern voice logo shown here was created by “teh ossum” street artist basco)


  1. I think your mentalhealthcamp is a great idea although I live in Los Angeles and wouldn’t be able to attend.

    But I truly believe that blogging is an important adjunctive therapy. It’s “writing to heal” and then some. And the value of developing a virtual support group is very beneficial!


    Wellness Writer’s last blog post..I’m Back to Writing

  2. Hi Isabella,

    I probably can’t participate live – I live in Australia.

    I do think it is a very worthwhile initiative and would love to hear how it went.

  3. Hi Isabella,

    It is great that you and the other panelists are opening up this wonderful can of worms!

    The mental health profession historically, has been slow to recognize new issues, likely since the answers to the old one’s are still being studied. Any grad students looking for a dissertation topic?

    It will take a long time before we see the true pitfalls or benefits of social blogging in general and I commend you on opening the discussion on the topic.

    Given the medium we are discussing, it is a great idea to combine the face to face with on-line interaction. Your posts and the comments have been incredibly educational and I look forward to seeing where this goes.

    Roger’s last blog post..How Does a Microwave Work?

  4. It is definitely an area that is quickly expanding for every time I turn around there seems to be ten more mental health blogs. Unfortunately at the same time a number of blogs and their writers are just disappearing as once you put your life on display everyone gets to see it

    untreatableonline’s last blog post..The Next Step

  5. @wellnesswriter thanks! the connection between writing and healing is something that we are definitely thinking about discussing at the conference.

    @roger thank you! oh, i love the idea of this as a dissertation topic. i’ll be at a conference next week where i’ll meet one of the pre-eminent researchers in counselling here in canada, i’ll see if i can catch him and discuss that with him 🙂

    @laura great to run into you at the bloggers meetup. and yes, it IS going to be on a saturday or sunday.

    @untreatableonline thanks, i like how you phrased that. this goes beyond the topic of anonymity, doesn’t it? even if you DO use an anonymous ID, you still know that your story is “out there”, and it can feel very vulnerable. would love it if you could say a little more about that.

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