Life issues

TheMHS Conference 2019

28 Aug. 2019

From August 27-31st The Mental Health Services Network held their annual conference at Brisbane Convention Centre. Two staff from the headspace Onkaparinga centre were lucky enough to attend, and present their ideas on youth engagement online. They pulled ideas from online research, the centres Youth Reference Group, and a community survey that collected over 150 responses. This research, combined with their lived experience allowed them to share ideas of how youth health services can reach young people online, and how positively contributing to online spaces is a vital part of modern health care. 

If you would like to get in contact regarding the presentation, use this online form to connect with Tanya and Oliver.


Meme-ingful Consumer Engagement - Connecting Online with Young People who use Mental Health Services.


Advocates are using social media more than ever, yet it still remains a relatively unexplored avenue for consumer, carer and community engagement in Mental Health. In other areas of health, online activity has become more organised, allowing it to inform service delivery. This empowers young advocates to use their voice. We know that young people with mental illness are Tweeting, Gramming, and Facebooking about their journey, but very few services are tapping into this resource as a way to promote recovery and inform policy change. Research has shown that young people prefer helping their peers with their mental health struggles rather than "burdening" others with their own story. As such, forums and online support groups are often utilised. Improving health literacy, and developing multimedia skills, can be applied to other areas of life and assist in recovery. So why aren't we jumping on board with technology? 
In this talk, Tanya Blazewicz a peer worker for headspace describes how she uses Twitter to consult with, get buy-in, and feedback from, young people with lived experience on various projects - including a distress tolerance tool for self harm. Oliver Keane, community engagement leader, describes how to tailor posts to increase Facebook engagement, and how to go viral. 

Learning Objectives

Learning Objective 1: People in the audience will take away new ways to involve younger advocates in consumer engagement at all levels, be it grass roots, state health services consumer and carer groups, statewide or even nation wide policy change. Furthermore, those looking to attract young people to their service or events will be exposed to a variety of ways to do so. 

Learning Objective 2: Sharing stories is a great way to provide hope for recovery, this is what makes peer work successful. With the internet, we have a thousand stories at our fingertips. Human connection is just a click away. Why not use this for good? We are not suggesting that online is the future of mental health, but that in partnership with face to face it could help complete the picture in a gap-filled system.

Key files and links contributing to this work:

Community Survey: 136 consenting responses 
Research articles and websites 

Arens, Elizabeth (2019). Best times to post on social media for 2019. Sprout Social Publishing :

Centre for Story-Based Strategy (n/a) Why we need to step into #the4thbox Website 

Johann, Michael & Bülow, Lars. (2019). One Does Not Simply Create a Meme: Conditions for the Diffusion of Internet Memes. International Journal of Communication. 1720-1742. 

McDonald’s Australia (2019) Feedback Form Online, 

Sinek, Simon (2019). Find Your WHY, Simon Sinek Website 

Patient Opinion (2019) Patient Opinion, Be Heard





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