Written by Hannah Blum, author of The Truth About Broken: The Unfixed Version of Self-Love
Mental health and wellness blogs are becoming more and more popular. Many people are looking to share their experience living with mental illness and for ways to open up the conversation online. I have been receiving a lot of questions about starting a mental health blog, which I hope to answer in the following post. The information relates to many of the questions I receive from what platform to use to what content to post.
The Content Of Your Blog
What Should I Talk About?
The most crucial part of your blog should be discussed first and foremost, which is the content. There are heaps of topics under the mental health umbrella. Get out a piece of paper or open a Google Doc—write and answer the following questions to help figure out the foundation of your blog should be.
What are your passions?
My personal example: Writing stories, poetry, and quotes. Mental Health Advocacy. Creating inspirational and artistic content.
What are your skills, area of interest or expertise?
My personal example: Media communication and social media. History of mental illness and stigma. Personal experience living with bipolar disorder. Skills include creative writing, communication and storytelling.
Take all of this, put it into a mixing bowl, and start stirring. Formulate a list of how you can combine your passion and area of interest with mental health.
Should I Share My Diagnosis of a Mental Illness Publicly?
Sharing your diagnosis of conditions such as bipolar, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, or depression can have consequences. It may affect your job and the way others respond to you. I would not be a good advocate if I pretended that stigma wasn’t extremely present in our society. With that being said, you can still start a mental health blog without sharing your diagnosis publicly. I hope that one day this won’t be a problem, but for now, it is.
Tips for Mental Health Blog Content
Be Creative & Utilize Apps & Resources
Get creative with your posts and website layout. Utilize apps and resources for beautiful design templates for blog graphics, social media posts, FaceBook & Twitter Covers, InstaStory Posts and more. I would suggest starting with the easy to use Canva.
Do the Proper Edits
Its always good to run your written content through an editing service to make sure you are giving readers quality reading material. The app I use for editing is: Grammarly
Use Imagery and Stock Photos
Try to use we more than you
This is a big one, and I have been guilty of using you too much in the past. It’s important specifically for a mental health blog that your audience feels connected and one with you. When we separate ourselves from readers with the overuse of statements such as, “you need to do__” or “you have a problem with__” it seems as though we are the speakers on the podium with all the knowledge. Of course, these statements are necessary, especially for blog posts such as this one when the main focus is helping you, but try to stay away from lecturing. We want to be peers, not professors. A successful mental health blog that is both personal and informative.
Create Posts with Quotes and Inspirational Content
The most successful mental health blogs are ones that inspire, whether it be affirmations, poetry, articles, stories, or quotes. If you see something that speaks to you in an inspiring way, share it and credit where you got it from. Some of my most prominent posts are the ones that feature quotes.
A significant reason people read mental health blogs, outside of receiving information, is to connect, to be inspired, to relate, to not feel alone, and to get a sense of hope. Mold your content around these intentions.
Be Careful with Triggering Content
Mental health bloggers are similar, but very different from your mainstream bloggers, and one of the biggest reasons is our audience. Mental health is a sensitive topic, and awareness of your audience is vital. We do have an ethical responsibility to our community and people with a mental illness to keep them in mind when sharing material. Topics such as self-harm, abuse and especially your experience with suicidal thoughts and how you overcame those low periods.
Be Consistent with Posting
Try your best to be consistent with posting on your site and related social media accounts. The one thing you don’t want to happen is to gain an audience and then not post for a long enough period that you lose those readers. In the beginning I suggest posting twice a week at minimum. Create at least 10 posts prior to publishing your blog.
Choosing a Blogging Platform
Everyone is different when it comes to picking a blogging platform. It depends on your needs and wants for your blog. I started out and still currently use WordPress. Make sure you do your research on the blogging platform you plan to publish your blog on. In the beginning, do not feel the pressure to spend money. You always have the option to upgrade after publishing your blog. As much as I love WordPress and definitely suggest it, I will let you know that it can be a little complicated at times. You will have to do a little research on certain features, but it shows the legitimacy of the platform. Other blogging platforms include: Wix, Blogger, Squarespace
Create an Eye Catching Website
There are tons of free themes available on WordPress and other blogging sites. Don’t feel the pressure to pay a lot of money for an issue right now. Down the road, once you start posting more content and gaining traction, you can think about upgrading and/or paying for a new theme.
The main things are keeping it simple, readable, and uplifting. Posting about in-depth topics is essential, but your main website should give readers a comforting and uplifting feeling. Using all black or covering the homepage with dark images can be discomforting.
Titles For Your Blog Posts
An essential part of publishing a blog post is creating attention-grabbing titles. You want it to be easy to read, to the point, and a title that draws readers in. When I first started, I researched popular blog titles and templates which I have shared below. Utilize this when thinking about posts.
Create Posts About Your Peers
Connecting and engaging with your peers in the mental health community is beneficial both personally and for your blog. This includes interviews, guest features, and other posts that relate to your peers in mental health community. I have created beautiful friendships with people in the community advocating for mental health on media platforms. Start reaching out to your peers and getting to know your community. Post interviews, stories, and advocacy initiatives. Promote messages, content, books, and websites that you connect with. You can reference some of your peers within blog posts as well.
Create Social Media Accounts for Your Blog
Creating social media accounts for your blog, in my opinion, is necessary. I would stay away from connecting your personal account to a blog. Instead, create a separate report based on your blog or brand.
All posts should be shared on all mediated platforms such as Twitter, FaceBook & Instagram. On Instagram, you have to get up to 10K to get the “Swipe Up” feature, which makes it easier to share links in your Instastory. However, FaceBook and Twitter are the platforms to share information and spread it quickly.
Experiment with Themes & Create Different Pages on Your Blog
Do not be afraid to experiment with different themes and pages throughout your blogging adventure. As time goes on, and you create more content, you may need to renovate your site and add more pages. For example, I renovated my website to feature videos, added a contact page for my freelance social media consulting business, and to make space for my quotes and poetry.
Create a Resource Page
Every mental health blogger should have a resource page that gives their audience helpful information. People with a mental illness or anyone who is going through a difficult time wants resources that will inspire them and make them feel at ease. In my opinion all mental health blogs should include a page that shares the suicide hotlines.
Have fun with your blog. Don’t worry about followers or views. Enjoy creating awesome content that is inspiring and most importantly true to who you are.
For more mental health content follow @hannahdblum
In her first book, The Truth About Broken: The Unfixed Version of Self-Love, Hannah Blum redefines what it means to love yourself and takes readers on an unforgettable journey towards embracing what makes you different by sharing captivating stories that will never leave you after reading. A book that will give you a new perspective on mental illness as Hannah shares her unapologetic message rooted in her life as living with a mental illness in a society that has labeled her and others as broken.