A practical guide to social media in mental health practice

Doctor reading iPad

This new 30-page guide (PDF) is a must read for any health and social care professionals who are thinking about getting more involved with social media.

Twitter remains a terrifying prospect for many professionals working in health and social care, but in my experience it’s very rare for someone to actually give it a go, spend some time exploring what it can do and then say that they don’t want to continue.

The authors of the guide (Victorias: Betton and Tomlinson @VictoriaBetton @nlightspr) are both active and joyful users of social media and this shines through in their very practical and useful report.

For many of us, social media is becoming an essential tool for our every day working life

For many of us, social media is becoming an essential tool for our every day working life

It’s pitched at the novice and includes an introduction to social media and some very clear explanations about the different websites and techniques that you need to get up and running.

There are a number of case studies that illustrate the power and reach of Twitter, Facebook, online communities, mobile apps and blogs.

The authors themselves highlight the fact that the guide will probably be out of date very soon, but for the time being it is an excellent introduction to a topic that is straightforward for many early-adopters, but a real mountain to climb for others.

If you’re a Twitter-virgin, here’s the place to start. If you’re a social media guru already, download this guide and give it to those troublesome friends who’ve been resisting getting involved for years. This may just persuade them to take the existential leap of faith!

Helen Bevan, Chief of Service Transformation at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, sums it up nicely in her introduction:

Through social media I get access to updates on the latest thinking in my field as soon as they are published and have discussions and solve problems with some amazing people. One of the most powerful aspects of social media is that it cuts across organisational barriers and hierarchies; you can connect with a voluntary advocate as easily as a chief executive as easily as a clinical team member.


Betton V and Tomlinson V. Social media in mental health practice: online network tools for recovery and living well (PDF). Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, March 2013.

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