Mental Health Voices

Earlier this year I decided that I would like to do something to contribute to the Mental Health community. Being a long time follower and fan of rotation curation accounts on Twitter I started to think that maybe there was something we could do with this format.

 Following a great project which Claire Greaves carried out for Mental Health Awareness Week in May of this year. She asked people to send in their ‘real’ answers to the question “How Are You?” Reading through the responses she received confirmed to me that rotation curation really could work for the mental health community, that people really did have things they wanted to say and that giving them a single platform to open up may be just what the community needed.
I contacted Claire and we started to plan what was to become Mental Health Voices.

Over the next few weeks we discussed names, logo designs, and the overall feel we wanted for the project. Ultimately this was something which would run itself with me managing who would take over each week, but of course, we had to ensure we could get it up and running and that Claire was OK to take over with that admin when I wasn’t up to scratch and vice versa!
Rotation Curation
So, it seems appropriate to sideline slightly and explain what rotation curation is. It’s very popular on Twitter (most accounts are found with the hashtag #RoCur although there is a Wiki page with most listed).
Most of these accounts are location based, so I initially found out about them through one based here in Bristol (@Bristol52), I then found out about @PeopleofUK and from there started following them all over the place.
Recently one of my friends in Australia managed @WeAreADL and one of the US based members of the snail mail letter club I’m in is currently managing @WeRWorld.
There are also rotation curation accounts for music, science, photography and so on….and of course now mental health!
Mental Health Voices
We launched Mental Health Voices (@MH_Voices) on June 14th with Claire at the helm. It was a tough week for her, with lots of travelling but people started coming forward and asking to take part, and engaging with conversations.
Mental Health Voices isn’t just for those who live with mental health issues, curators could be carers, professionals, or just those with an interest in mental health issues. The important thing is that they have an interest and something to say.
What many forget is that everyone has mental health it’s just that some get sick while others don’t, as with physical health. And when people get sick it’s at varying degrees. The point of Voices is to get discussions going around all of the different types of illness, how they can affect peoples lives not only in a negative way but also a positive way.
In the couple of weeks since we launched, volunteers have continued coming forward and asking to take part. I now have curators booked for the whole of July and am booking people for August. I never imagined that at this point I would be booking people so far in advance this soon.
Discussions are picking up and people are coming forward with questions and queries they have about mental health which is fuelling discussion. Some people have even carried on their discussions once the person managing the account has logged off aswell.
It has been amazing watching this idea become a reality, and watching other people become engaged with this idea that I had. I am looking forward to watching the discussions unravel over the weeks and months to come, and I hope that anybody reading this that wants to take part get in touch!

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