To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Social media can help in recovery – but are mental health practitioners up to speed?

Victoria Betton (Deputy Director of Partnerships and Innovation, based at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Strategy and Partnerships Department, Leeds, UK)
Victoria Tomlinson (Chief Executive, based at Northern Lights PR, Harrogate, UK)

Mental Health and Social Inclusion

ISSN: 2042-8308

Article publication date: 25 November 2013




The purpose of this paper is to raise mental health practitioner awareness of the opportunities and risks afforded by social media in day-to-day practice.


The paper provides case studies of people experiencing mental health problems who are using social media as part of their recovery, to live well and to challenge stigma.


It was found that, whilst there are risks, many people are using social media for peer support, shared learning and to decrease isolation.

Practical implications

It is argued that mental health practitioners will increasingly need to have an understanding of social media so they can offer support to people they care for in their online as well as offline lives. As the use of social media expands, this will become increasingly important. Social implications – the paper has implications for practice and policy for both mental health.


For the first time, the paper pulls together lived experience of social media from people with mental health problems and make recommendations for practitioners. The paper will be valuable to people experiencing mental health problems, practitioners, health and social care organisations and policy makers.



The authors would like to thank all the people who kindly gave their time in sharing their experiences for case studies.


Betton, V. and Tomlinson, V. (2013), "Social media can help in recovery – but are mental health practitioners up to speed?", Mental Health and Social Inclusion, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 215-219.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles