I’ve been putting together posts for this blog for over a year. Every week I create a new post and sometimes I’ve posted more than once. People have commented to me that they’re amazed I’m able to come up with new content every week.
Sometimes I’m amazed I can do it, too. For those interested in writing about their mental health experiences, there are a few things to keep in mind.
1) Be honest
Start by sharing your own story. How did you get to a place of stability? If you’re not there yet, why not? What are the issues you struggle with? Write about those struggles. In a clear, concise manner, dig into what you’re going through. Attending therapy will help you understand better your mental health issues. This may make it easier to write out your feelings and experiences. But make sure they’re your experiences and you’re being honest. People value honesty more than anything. Regardless of whether it’s a success or failure.
2) Do your research
I read a lot about loneliness and mental health. For years I poured through magazine and newspaper articles as well as self-help books. I read about suicide, loneliness, depression, and anxiety. Reading as much as I did gave me a better sense of knowing what to write and I felt confident in my knowledge of the subject. That confidence helped my writing to be strong and robust.
3) Keep to your own experience
Don’t write about the mental health issues of others, unless it’s in relation to your own. Let them tell their own story. You don’t know what others are feeling or going through, so focus on you. There’s no quicker way to lose the favor of your readers than by making judgments about things of which you may not know much.
4) Break down your experiences
Instead of writing how you suffered from depression and now you’re not, explore the depression in detailed terms. What were the initial stages of your depression like? What was it like getting diagnosed? (Or if you haven’t been diagnosed, why not?) What were your experiences like with medication? Therapy? Other treatments? Each of these could be a blog entry in itself.
5) Read other blogs and news sites
I have a “favorites” section in my Google news that includes searches on articles about depression, loneliness, and mental health. I skim through those searches once a week and if an article seems interesting, I’ll read it. Perhaps I’ll write a response to it. And if not, it’s keeping me up on what’s going on in the field and it may give me ideas of what I can write about in the future.
What about you? If you're writing about mental health, do you have any tips on what makes for good content? Have you learned any lessons from your experiences writing on mental illness?
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This blog is an exploration of the subjects of belonging and loneliness. I also look at mental health issues. I seek to provide content to my readers that is informative and helpful. If you don't want to miss anything, sign up for my email list.