The most talked about mental health blogs in 2016


As you well know, Xmas is not a time for elves to rest on our laurels. As ever, we’re darting about, getting things done, making new contacts, hatching new ideas, planning the next exciting thing.

Of course, it’s also important to look back and reflect on what has happened over the last year. Clearly, much of 2016 is best put behind us! Let’s look towards the brightening days and build something positive in 2017.

Top 10 mental health blogs

We track engagement by measuring the number of people who read and comment on our blogs, but we also look at how conversations unfold on social media. We combine this with activity in our website members area where subscribers can keep reflective practice notes and mark the blogs they have read, which all signifies real engagement with the research in question. All of these analytics help us produce this top 10 of the most talked about mental health blogs of 2016:

    1. Locked wards vs open wards: does control = safety? André Tomlin, 29 July
    2. #PreventableHarm Can risk assessment in mental health be evidence-based? André Tomlin, 6 July
    3. Is it bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder? Murtada Alsaif, 30 March
    4. #SafeStaffing Mental health nursing on inpatient wards John Baker, 22 January
    5. What happened to you? Trauma informed approaches to mental health care Sarah Carr, 17 November
    6. Is the NICE guideline for bipolar disorder biased in favour of psychosocial interventions? Guy Goodwin, 5 February
    7. What has qualitative research ever done for us? #ElfCampfire André Tomlin, 5 April
    8. Nicotine without smoke: new RCP report on e-cigarettes and tobacco harm reduction Lorien Jollye, 29 April
    9. Personality disorders, IAPT treatment and recovery from depression and anxiety, Mark Smith, 31 March
    10. Cochrane find no evidence for as required PRN medication for mental health inpatients, John Baker, 9 June

We published 223 blogs in 2016, so huge thanks to all of our talented and dedicated bloggers. There are now over 170 people who have published on the Mental Elf alone. Without these fine upstanding elves, we really would be nowhere, or at least we’d have a far less prominent view across the woodland!

Big up the bloggers!

Big up the bloggers!


We started podcasting this year and have published 10 episodes since the Spring. We know that many of our readers like to keep up to date with the latest mental health research and news when they’re on the move, so we hope that this audio content supplements our blogs and social media activity well. Let us know what you think.

The podcasts feature extended interviews with leading health and social care experts: researchers, clinicians, practitioners and experts by experience. We’ve covered mindfulness, depression, cannabis, genetics, care planning, suicide, psychotherapies and psychiatric morbidity.

We’ve also started live podcasting from mental health conferences and you can listen to our early efforts on our SoundCloud page on the People Drive Digital playlist and the MindTech playlist.


Listen to mental health experts talking about the latest important research in our audio podcasts.

Beyond The Room

We are really quite stupidly excited about this new venture; a partnership with Vanessa Garrity and Mark Brown from @WeMHNurses. The aim of our #BeyondTheRoom digital conference service is quite simple:

  1. Create a buzz before, during and after your event
  2. Extend your reach and amplify the conversation
  3. Facilitate a democratic conversation that involves all of the right people
  4. Create a legacy (a permanent record of your event)
  5. Evaluate the social activity and report on impact

Our first efforts have been extremely successful with massive levels of engagement online that have amplified the conversations going on at the face-to-face event.

If you are involved in a mental health event in 2017 and you want it to reach as wide an audience as possible, drop us a line to discuss how we can help or find out more on the new Beyond The Room website.

Institutional subscribers and partners

We’ve had another incredibly busy year with lots of conference talks and presentations of the National Elf Service to various groups. The elves are going from strength to strength, as people across the health and social care sector appreciate our bite-sized chunks of relevant and reliable evidence.

New institutional subscribers to the National Elf Service have increasingly come from the University and Charity sectors and we were especially delighted to welcome University College London and the Mental Health Foundation to the woodland over recent months.

You can learn more about the benefits of the National Elf Service to your staff and students in our publicity leaflet. If you value the freely available blogs that we publish for everyone to read, why not check out how we can help you track your learning and contribute to your professional development as well?

And importantly for anyone involved in disseminating research or improving the impact of research, our new digital dissemination consultancy support can help you reach a wider audience and have more meaningful conversations about the evidence. Email me directly if you want to learn more.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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