SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
January/February 2011, Volume 19, Number 1 

Behavioral Health and Social Media (Continued)

Increasing Outreach, Feedback, and Virtual Communities (continued)

Twitter. With its 140-character limit, Twitter is all about quick comments. This platform has done a great job of humanizing organizations. Ongoing conversations among organizations on topics of interest are happening at all hours. Organizations monitor their Twitter sites, reply to tweets, and participate in conversations.

YouTube. “As much as we are able to corral SAMHSA’s web videos, we are trying to get them on SAMHSA’s YouTube channel,” said Mr. Wilson. “This is our main platform for hosting videos, a centralized spot.” Plans are under consideration to house SAMHSA videos together in a more comprehensive and user-friendly way on the SAMHSA site. Mr. Wilson added, “One option would be to model the White House site at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live with categories that make sense—PSAs in one spot; videos by topic and format in another.”

According to SAMHSA’s social media team, it’s not about creating content for a platform or a channel. It’s about selecting a channel based on the content that’s already available.

The goal is to get core behavioral health messages to the behavioral health community. “That’s what we’re doing,” said Mr. Randazzo. “We’re sharing videos, resources, webinars, and programmatic videos, all for added benefit to SAMHSA’s social media visitors. People can link these to their own organization’s blog or Facebook page.”

Outreach And Feedback

For SAMHSA, social media tools serve two key purposes regarding outreach and feedback.

  • Social media allows new ways of getting critical information about behavioral health directly to providers of prevention and treatment services and to the public.
  • Social media creates ways for SAMHSA to receive feedback and hear what people have to say in their own words about the behavioral health issues at hand.

Posting information on the SAMHSA website is one way to disseminate details of a new campaign or initiative. Posting that information on Facebook or Twitter, however, can increase the reach of that message exponentially. “Going viral” means there’s a good chance a message will catch on and be read by nearly everyone.

“Whether the message is about suicide prevention, underage drinking, school violence, regional use of methamphetamine, depression, co-occurring disorders, or another topic, SAMHSA wants to hear back,” said Mr. Wilson. “Are SAMHSA messages reaching local communities across the country? Are SAMHSA messages making a difference in an Oregon town overwhelmed by underage drinkers? We want to know.”

Partnerships

SAMHSA’s social media platforms, including the SAMHSA blog, provide opportunities for partnerships with nonprofit organizations and coalitions as well as Federal agencies to promote SAMHSA’s mission and vision. In February, SAMHSA’s prevention partnership with CADCA offered an opportunity for Mr. Wilson and Ms. Stephens to host a special session.

Recent comments from the behavioral health field emphasize the usefulness of social media. For example, Linda Rosenberg, M.S.W., of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare in Washington, DC, said, “If we truly want to educate the public to understand that treatment for mental illnesses and addictions are effective and recovery is possible, we must be where our audience is—on Facebook, Twitter, and whatever the next wave is.” Ms. Rosenberg, president and CEO of the Council, was a recent guest blogger on the SAMHSA blog. She presented information about the Council’s public education program on mental health first aid.

“Both the public and the Federal Government are acknowledging the power of social media tools and how they are reshaping the way we interact with each other locally and globally,” said Ms. Stephens. “Beyond our daily lives, people are using social media as a tool to fuel democracy and to offer humanitarian aid in the face of natural disasters.”

For more information about social media and SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiative on Public Awareness and Support, visit SAMHSA’s website.

Find SAMHSA on Social Media Sites

Facebook
Facebook lets users create their own sets of “friends” among whom they share brief updates, photos, links, or other information. Similarly, SAMHSA’s Facebook page offers users a place to follow SAMHSA’s updates and share information.
SAMHSA on Facebook

Twitter
Twitter lets users subscribe to receive brief updates or “tweets” (a maximum 140 characters) from others whom they choose to “follow.” SAMHSA tweets include various announcements and links to resources and information.
SAMHSA on Twitter

Flickr
Flickr is an image sharing community that allows people to upload, share, comment, and rate images. SAMHSA piloted a Flickr project with photos as part of the 2010 Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day events in Washington, DC.
SAMHSA on Flickr

YouTube
YouTube is a video sharing platform that allows viewers to watch videos on the YouTube site, on many mobile devices, and on other sites and blogs that have embedded YouTube videos on their pages. SAMHSA’s YouTube page shares information and ideas with a wide audience through a compelling and popular medium.
SAMHSA on YouTube




  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Increasing Outreach, Feedback, and Virtual Communities

Increasing Outreach, Feedback, and Virtual Communities

SAMHSA has developed a “digital engagement” program with presences on major social media channels.


  From the Administrator  
Above All, SAMHSA Seeks To Improve Lives

Above All, SAMHSA Seeks To Improve Lives

SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., talks about SAMHSA’s newly revised document on the Strategic Initiatives. Read more.


  In the News  
President’s Budget

President’s Budget

The FY 2012 Budget requests $3.6 billion for SAMHSA. View the chart.

Oil Spill Update: Call 1-800-985-5990

Oil Spill Update: Call 1-800-985-5990

To support those affected, SAMHSA and the Ad Council created a new awareness campaign.


  Military Families  
Presidential Initiative

Presidential Initiative

A new directive establishes a coordinated Federal approach to supporting military families. View Resources.


  Prevention  
Prevention Day 2011

Prevention Day 2011

Prevention Day included games and fun for local students. Photo Gallery.


  National Expenditures  
Behavioral Health Spending Down

Behavioral Health Spending Down

In 2005, $1.8 trillion was spent on all U.S. health care services; behavioral health spending accounted for 7.3 percent.


  Suicide Prevention  
Marvel Comics’ Superheroes Help

Marvel Comics’ Superheroes Help

“Captain America” is giving a little help to save young lives. Read more on SAMHSA’s blog.

Suicidal Thoughts & Behaviors: Who’s at Risk?

Suicidal Thoughts & Behaviors: Who’s at Risk?

An estimated 8.4 million adults age 18 or older had serious thoughts of suicide last year.


  Treatment Admissions  
Dramatic Shifts State by State

Dramatic Shifts State by State

By region, treatment admissions show striking variations.

Trauma-Related Counseling

Trauma-Related Counseling

Mental health screenings can help identify clients who have experienced trauma.


  Recovery  
Months Away, But . . .

Months Away, But . . .

Things are happening on the Recovery Month website. View webcasts and more.


  Statistics & Data  
Jump in Number of Pharmaceutical-Related Emergencies

Jump in Number of Pharmaceutical-Related Emergencies

A 98.4-percent increase in ER visits is related to the misuse or abuse of pharmaceuticals.


  Visit the SAMHSA Store  

Free Publications at Your Fingertips

SAMHSA’s website includes the new SAMHSA Store for publications and other Agency products. Visit store.samhsa.gov.

SAMHSA Store Video Tour

View the story of the SAMHSA Store. Find out how keyword taxonomy helps your search.