Twitter Travels To Australia’s Outback To Raise Mental Health Awareness

Online social networking site Twitter is used by many people including the everyday person as well as the rich and famous. It provides a way for people to communicate with one another by tweeting messages, finding out what their favorite celebrity is doing and so on. Today the site is being used for a entirely different purpose.

A new campaign using Twitter, is going on as we speak in Australia’s rural areas within the outback. The idea is to help people that are suffering from mental health problems including the very extreme measures of suicide. As ABC News reported, the service will provide people with information and it will act as a way for people to express how they think the rural health services should be improved. Set up by Alison Fairleigh, she decided to come up with the campaign after 3 people committed suicide within weeks of each other, within her small town out in the bush.

After being shocked and saddened with events that had happened within her close community she said, “It was the first time I had encountered the effects of suicide in a small community. It was absolutely shocking and confronting and rocked my world – it really impacted on the community very, very heavily.”

Twitter plays a detrimental part in the process by giving out Twitter chats on a 2 weekly basis allowing the Rural Mental Health (RMH) campaign to get completely underway. Ms Fairleigh pointed out “We want to get the discussion going, to let people know it is a very real thing; its not just all made up mumbo jumbo for the sake of modern society. This is very real and we want people to know its OK to talk openly about it.”

One interesting fact raised from one of RMH’s co-founders “Chris Pycroft” said that response to their April 6 discussion forum has been immense, so much so that new messages from people were coming through every 4 seconds with the topic being the second highest trending topic on Twitter after the chat began.

We have to point out that everybody is welcome to discuss the issue of mental health and what needs to be done to better the current service(s) available. The service is not just resigned to those in Australia.

Tell us your thoughts on this very topic and how the engagement of social media is being used in this way? Can it only be a good thing?