The internet is a great source of information—and misinformation—about mental health. As social media continues to rise in popularity as a source of news and social interaction, many people are turning to Twitter for support with mental health issues. But with so much noise in the Twittersphere, who are the voices are worth listening to?
As a mental health advocate who interacts with like-minded people on social media every day, I’ve compiled a list of the 25 best mental health Twitter feeds to follow in 2015. The accounts on this list include charities, celebrities, government organisations, media companies and ordinary people with lived experience of mental health issues. They inform, inspire, entertain and campaign in varying proportions. Some have millions of followers, and others have just a few hundred.
What they all have in common is that mental health is a key focus of their feed, and they continually provide insightful, original or otherwise valuable contributions to the public discussion. So in my totally subjective opinion, and in no particular order, here are the 25 best mental health Twitter feeds.
1) Mind @MindCharity
As one of the largest and most influential mental health charities in the UK, Mind has attracted support from celebrities including comedienne Ruby Wax, political spin doctor Alastair Campbell, and comedian Stephen Fry, who is now the organisation’s president. During its 65-year history, the charity has successfully campaigned for changes in legislation, better hospital care and fairer employment conditions for people with mental health issues. It provides direct support to over 400,000 people in England and Wales through a network of 140 local Minds, many of which have their own Twitter accounts. The charity’s main Twitter feed posts news, updates on its campaigns and fundraising appeals. It also aims to respond within 24 hours to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or asking a direct question.
— Mind (@MindCharity) May 26, 2015
2) Matt Haig @MattHaig1
Author Matt Haig had a breakdown in his 20s, and turned to writing after battling depression. He believes that reading and writing saved his life, and went on to produce the bestsellers The Last Family in England, The Radleys and The Humans. His first non-fiction book, Reasons To Stay Alive, is a memoir based on his experiences with depression. His Twitter feed is witty and candid, and he frequently uses it to advocate for mental health issues.
One way recovering from anxiety helps you write: it tells you that, to get better, you need to head towards the fear. Do what scares you.
— Matt Haig (@matthaig1) May 25, 2015
3) Sectioned @
As her name suggests, Sectioned was involuntarily detained in a psychiatric unit, which she has likened to “being kidnapped by terrorists and repeatedly gang-raped.” An outspoken critic of paternalistic attitudes towards mental health patients, she has a knack for putting what many others are thinking into pithy, 140-character tweets. She writes an award-winning blog at sectioneduk.wordpress.com.
A #mentalhealth crisis is a healthcare issue, not a crime. Police cell isn't a place of MENTAL safety: it's a place of PHYSICAL detention.
— Mental Health (@Sectioned_) May 20, 2015
4) NAMI @NAMICommunicate
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is a grassroots US organisation that has become one of the nation’s leading voices on mental health. Its Twitter feed is, amongst other things, an excellent source of research-based facts and sharable infographics.
— NAMI (@NAMICommunicate) May 22, 2015
5) Sam De Silva @ptsdjedi
A former London high school teacher, De Silva was caught in the 2004 Asian Tsunami on Koh Phi Phi island on the west coast of Thailand. He was part of an impromptu team of tourists who performed a search and rescue mission during the first 24 hours after the disaster, before outside help arrived. He blogs at ptsdjedi.com to raise awareness of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and has been interviewed as part of a BBC documentary. His Twitter feed chronicles his journey of recovery, and advocates for others who suffer from PTSD and other mental health conditions.
— ptsd jedi (@ptsdjedi) May 26, 2015
6) NIMH @NIMHgov
The National Institute of Mental Health is a US government agency dedicated to mental health research. NIMH regularly shares its science-based insights by taking part in Tweet chats under the hashtag #NIMHchats. Transcripts of the conversations can be found on its website.
— Mental Health NIMH (@NIMHgov) May 8, 2015
7) Psych Central @PsychCentral
Founded in 1995, Psych Central claims it is the largest and oldest mental health website. Run by mental health professionals, it provides accessible information about psychological conditions. Its Twitter feed posts links to its articles, which typically include mental health news, features on psychological disorders and therapists’ answers to readers’ dilemmas.
— PsychCentral (@PsychCentral) May 27, 2015
8) Psychology Today @PsychToday
Psychology Today is a US magazine that was founded in 1967 and is published once every two months. It covers topics such as neuroscience, psychology, relationships, health and industry news. Its website includes directories of therapy and health workers and hundreds of blogs by health and science professionals, social workers, anthropologists and sociologists. Its Twitter feed frequently links to its own articles, and occasionally retweets relevant content from elsewhere.
— Psychology Today (@PsychToday) May 27, 2015
9) American Psychiatric Association @APAPsychiatric
Founded in 1844, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is the world’s largest psychiatry organisation, representing over 36,000 psychiatrists. Its twitter feed posts research, interviews with experts and industry news. It also hosts Tweet chats and features information about industry events, and sometimes advertises job vacancies.
— NewYork-Presbyterian (@nyphospital) May 18, 2015
10) Healthy Place @HealthyPlace
Healthy Place is a TV show and an award-winning website providing information on psychological disorders and treatments, plus mental health support. Its twitter feed includes links to its article and videos, plus uplifting memes that tend to be prolifically retweeted.
— HealthyPlace (@HealthyPlace) May 18, 2015
11) Jonny Benjamin @MrJonnyBenjamin
In 2008, Benjamin stood on the edge of Waterloo Bridge, intending to jump. Benjamin, who was struggling to come to terms with a recent diagnosis of schizophrenia, was talked out of taking his life by a stranger. Years later, he tracked down the good Samaritan, Neil Laybourn, using the hashtag #FindMike (when he started his mission, Benjamin incorrectly believed that Laybourn’s Christian name was Mike.) Benjamin’s search and the emotional reunion was documented in the Channel program The Stranger on the Bridge. Since the story went viral, Benjamin and Laybourn (who is on Twitter as @neillaybourn) have become ambassadors for mental health charity Rethink. Benjamin produces vlogs on his YouTube channel. He tweets about his experiences and his advocacy for mental health.
— Jonny Benjamin (@MrJonnyBenjamin) May 20, 2015
12) Rethink Mental Illness @Rethink_
Charity Rethink has been helping people with serious mental illness since 1972. The largest voluntary sector provider of mental health services in England, it helps over one million people per year through services including local support groups, carer support, crisis intervention and employment and training. Rethink was involved in the social media campaign #FindMike, which ultimately reunited Jonny Benjamin with the stranger who talked him out of throwing himself off Waterloo Bridge. Its Twitter feed challenges stigma and offers a platform for people with lived experience of mental health problems to tell their stories. It also campaigns for better mental health services and posts news and updates about fundraising campaigns.
"Urgently needed… but the reality is there simply aren’t enough crisis services" Our response to today's MH funding http://t.co/rD9xowW8ma
— RethinkMentalIllness (@Rethink_) May 20, 2015
13) Claire Greaves @mentalbattle
Greaves, who has fought anorexia and other mental health issues since childhood, has spoken about her experiences on radio, TV, social media, and to The Huffington Post. She also blogs about mental illness at mentalillnesstalk.wordpress.com. Her Twitter feed chronicles her recovery, her frustrations with the mental health system and her advocacy work.
— Claire Greaves (@mentalbattle) May 27, 2015
14) Andrew Lopez @nursefriendly
A registered nurse and social media consultant from New Jersey, Lopez moderates several popular Tweet chats on nursing and mental health, including #MHstigma. He also runs the Nursefriendly National Nursing & Consumer Health Directories, which contain over 150,000 links to nursing- and health care-related sites.
— Andrew Lopez, RN (@nursefriendly) January 16, 2015
15) Men Heal @menhealuk
Shocked by Robin Williams’ suicide and statistics indicating that men dying by suicide at three times the rate that women do, Men Heal founder Mike set up a support group in Abergavenny, Wales. It was so successful that he is now proposing to set up a second group in Pontypool. He also runs the Men Heal website, an online resource available to men everywhere. The website includes information about resources for men who are feeling depressed or suicidal, blogs from people who have experienced mental health issues, information about wellbeing and inspiring creative projects. The group is also interested in talking to women who know men who have been affected. Its Twitter feed talks about mental health issues and the unique problems men face in asking for help.
When I set up this organisation, I had no idea it would benefit my mental wellbeing so much. I aimed to help others but it's helped me too.
— MEN HEAL (@menhealuk) May 28, 2015
16) Ruby Wax @Rubywax
The comedienne, whose show, Losing It, was based on her experiences of clinical depression, obtained a Masters degree in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy from the University of Oxford in 2013. Her charity work includes acting as an ambassador for Mind and SANE, holding open sessions for people with mental health issues and setting up dedicated social networking communities for them, such as Black Dog Tribe. In April, it was announced that Wax would be awarded an OBE for her services to mental health.
When people ask if comics have depression more than other people I can only say your insides don't know what your outside does for a living
— Ruby Wax (@Rubywax) May 26, 2015
17) Lloyd Armstrong @vinylarm
A mental health nurse, army veteran and Royal College of Nursing Activist, Armstrong has a strong following on Twitter. He uses his feed to campaign against NHS cuts, challenge mental health stigma and tweet insightful infographics explaining psychological disorders.
— Lloyd Armstrong (@vinylarm) May 26, 2015
18) I Wish My Friends Knew @iwishmyfriends
Mental health blogger Depressed Not Sad (@) accidentally started the #IWishMyFriendsKnew hashtag after writing a blog post about what she couldn’t find the courage to say. After the hashtag went viral, with thousands of people tweeting about the thoughts they find hard to share, she set up the @iwishmyfriends Twitter feed to retweet contributions, including some that were sent anonymously.
RT [redacted] #IWishMyFriendsKnew that I need support but don't know how to tell you
— IWishMyFriendsKnew (@iwishmyfriends) May 18, 2015
19) Stephen Fry @stephenfry
Fry, a British actor, writer and comedian, experienced mental health problems for most of his life and was finally diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 37. While researching his documentary The Secret Life of The Manic Depressive, he became a passionate advocate for mental health. He is involved with several mental health charities and campaigns including Rethink, Time to Change and Mind, of which he is the president.
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) May 14, 2015
20) Blue Light Blue @_bluelightblue_
As a child, Blue Light Blue was the first to find her father after he took his own life in her home. She suffered PTSD from the experience, and lives with depression and generalised anxiety disorder. She blogs about her experiences at bluelightblue.com and documents them via her Twitter feed, which she also uses to challenge stigma and discuss coping methods such as mindfulness. Always willing to listen in a crisis, she is one of the most supportive and interactive mental health advocates on Twitter.
— amy / bluelightblue (@_bluelightblue_) May 28, 2015
21) Brené Brown @BreneBrown
A US scholar, author and public speaker, Brown is a professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work who is best-known for her research into human connection. She has written several books about her findings and her articles have been published in national newspapers. Her TED Talks on The Power of Vulnerability and Listening to Shame were amongst the most watched on the website, with over 20 million and five million views respectively. Her website is at brenebrown.com.
— BreneBrown (@BreneBrown) April 30, 2015
22) Charlotte Walker @BipolarBlogger
Walker is an award-winning mental health blogger who lives with bipolar disorder. Her blog at purplepersuasion.wordpress.com has won Mark Hanson Awards for Digital Media at the Mind Media Awards 2013 and the Mood Disorder category in the 2012 This Week in Mentalists Awards. She now speaks publically about mental health issues and trains people to understand and respond to them. Her Twitter feed chronicles her experiences, highlights stigma and identifies how mental health services could be improved.
Also I am so over people who say they've read the notes but then need you to tell them the whole thing AND appear uncertain of your Dx.
— Charlotte Walker (@BipolarBlogger) May 28, 2015
23) Bipolar Bear @bipolarbear724
A survivor of bipolar disorder, cancer, and ECT, Bipolar Bear is an inspirational voice in Twitter’s mental health community and passionate about fighting stigma. As a service user and former mental health nurse, her perspective comes from both sides of the mental health system. On Twitter, she is supportive and interactive and is often there to support Twitter friends in a mental health crisis.
@BipolarBlogger But still the biggest problem remains that there are not enough acute beds, even if nurses do go round with police.
— Bipolarbear (@bipolarbear724) May 15, 2015
24) SANE @CharitySANE
SANE is a UK charity dedicated to helping and supporting people with mental health issues, reducing prejudice and conducting research into mental illness. The charity is behind the Black Dog Campaign, which aims to reduce stigma and encourage people with mental health problems to seek help early. It runs the Send a Text, Save a Life campaign, to remind people with mental issues that they are not alone. It is also backing Sally Burke’s Get Maisie Home campaign, which is raising awareness of how vulnerable minors like Burke’s teenage daughter Maisie are being mental health units hundreds of miles away from their families due to NHS budget cuts.
— SANE (@CharitySANE) May 26, 2015
25) Black Dog Tribe @Follow BDT
Set up by Ruby Wax and run by SANE, Black Dog Tribe is an online community for anyone affected by mental illness. It aims to provide a safe and compassionate platform for people with experience of mental health problems to connect with others in similar situations and share their stories. The Twitter account is staffed Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.
— Black Dog Tribe (@FollowBDT) May 28, 2015
Finally, I’m a firm believer in the old adage, “Self-praise is no recommendation,” so I haven’t included my own Twitter feed in this list. If you want to judge for yourself whether I’m worth following, you can check out my feed @EmoVoid.
Who are your favourite mental health tweeps? Leave a comment below.