Speak Up About Mental Health

Thorpe-and-Parkinson

Thorpe-and-ParkinsonYears ago when Mark Pollard and I were working on The Perfect Gift for a Man, we felt like we were doing something important – encouraging people, men in particular – to speak up, write and share their stories. And it wasn’t just the fact that young men commit suicide at more than three times the rate of women of the same age – nor even the severe impact that depression is having on young people – that was staggering. It was the way that people and stories came out of the woodwork once we asked.

Stories are a powerful way of connecting – but they do need to find a space in which to be told. Vibewire’s recent “Serial Issue” on Mental Wellbeing unearthed some great stories, showcased some new technologies and revealed surprising statistics about mental health in Australia.

And Ian Thorpe’s interview with Michael Parkinson last night was a great step forward in the conversation about mental health. As Jonathan Nicholas, CEO of ReachOut.com says, “The positive impact that will result from Ian’s eloquent discussion of his struggles will be felt by young people right around the country today.”

But making sure this impact continues to build momentum, there are some things that you can do:

  1. Share this ReachOut.com fact sheet on coming out
  2. Post this information about self-help for Depression
  3. Email these stress strategies to young people you know
  4. Talk about bullying with your family tonight
  5. Call at least 1 young person you know today and remind them that they’re loved

In addition, if there are young people you know going through tough times, please let them know that help exists:

  1. For a safe and anonymous online service there’s ReachOut.com
  2. For face to face counselling there’s headspace
  3. For telephone support there’s Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800 & Lifeline 13 11 14

And remember, speak up about mental health. It’s hard for it to stay hidden when it’s discussed in the light of day.

The Rise of the Social Prescription

The Rise of the Social Prescription

For decades, many industries have resisted the shift to digital. Retail, pharmaceutical, financial services, healthcare and even the media have fortified themselves against the changes taking place in the global consumer marketplaces. But one-by-one, all industries must, sooner or later, engage with those customers who have already made the digital transformation or risk losing businesses to more nimble and digitally focused competitors.

Over the last half dozen years, social media has been the more publicly acceptable face of the digital revolution. And while it is wrapped in positive terminology (friends, likes, hearts), these mask a deeper and more profound shift – the shift from analog to digital. It is this shift that is sweeping all before it, impacting all aspects of business.

In the healthcare industry, peer-to-peer recommendation is giving rise to social health – and what I am increasingly calling the social prescription – diagnosis and product recommendation via social networks. For better or worse, the social prescription is a reality that healthcare specialists now must also contend with. People are now consuming health information, content and services like they do any other product – and have expectations more in line with retail experience than the traditional doctor-patient relationship.

This infographic from the alliedhealthworld site shows how this plays out:

  • More than 75% of consumers expect a response within a day after requesting an appointment through social media (note the use of the word “consumers” rather than “patients”)
  • 20% of consumers join online health forums
  • 25% of internet users watch health related videos

But the real challenge is not in understanding the shift, it is in applying that understanding to the strategy of your business. How do you:

  • Transform your healthcare or pharmaceutical business while navigating government regulation?
  • Combat misinformation and uninformed recommendation?
  • Compete for the mindshare of the connected consumer?
  • Integrate your business strategy with the demands for a digital future?

Contact me to learn how I can help.

Infographic-How-Are-Consumers-Using-Social-Media-for-Health