With all the apps, blogs and YouTube videos offering therapy for depression and anxiety, why is Twitter such a popular forum to discuss mental health problems? For one, #mentalhealth pulls up scores of short and powerful reads by professionals and stories of everyday folks going through mental health battles. Second, Twitter offers a nearly anonymous way to join in on serious conversations.
Twitter’s space for discussing mental health issues has given rise to mental health influencers on the platform who have dedicated followers seeking guidance and advice. We’ve looked at this genre of social media stars and captured a list of the top 20 mental health influencers on Twitter.
Twitter’s Therapeutic Benefits
Many people who feel anxious, depressed and hopeless get quick doses of support and understanding on Twitter. Although much has been said and studied about the negative impact of social media on moods, Twitter seems to improve the outlook of someone with mental health disorders after engagement, according to a small study published by the Journal of Medical Internet Research and the National Institutes of Health. The study, the first of its kind, included other findings:
- Hashtags facilitate connections and reduce feelings of isolation.
- Twitter influencers offer a pair of helping hands that can swiftly guide people to safety.
- Users feel Twitter is a safe space for expression without feeling judged.
- Twitter gives people with mental health challenges a feeling of being heard.
Twitter’s Top Mental Health Influencers
Influencers tweet about mental health to raise awareness and help others access the information, strategies and support they might not be able to find elsewhere or as fast. The list is comprised of individuals rather than organizations and ranked in descending order of the number of followers.
- Matt Haig (@matthaig1) mental health advocate, struggles with depression, 274K followers
- Dr. Keely Kolmes (@drkkolmes) psychologist and long-time tweeter on mental health issues, 76.7K followers
- Dr. Beth Frates (@BethFratesMD) lifestyle medicine specialist, 74.4K followers
- Dr. Denise McDermott (@DrDeniseMD) adult and child psychiatrist, 70.8K followers
- The Mental Elf (@Mental_Elf) voice of mental health research, 69.5K followers
- Brien Blatt (@brienblatt) mental health advocate, 48K followers
- Jonny Benjamin (@MrJonnyBenjamin) author and founder of mental health foundation Beyond Shame/Beyond Stigma, 40.3K followers
- Jodi Aman (@JodiAman) voice for anxiety relief, intuitive healer, 40.1K followers
- Natasha Tracy (@natasha_tracy) insights into her life with depression and bipolar struggles, 34.5K followers
- Hattie Gladwell (@hatttiegladwell) mental health voice for young adults, 32.8K followers
- Patrick J. Kennedy (@PJK4brainhealth) former congressman from Rhode Island, mental health and addiction advocate, 22.9K followers
- Charlotte Walker (@BipolarBlogger) voice of living bipolar, 17.5K followers
- Jordan Brown (@jpbrown5) founder of Nerve10, which tells mental health stories,16.7K followers
- Stewart Bint (@AuthorSJB) author and voice for those with mental health challenges, 16.2K followers
- The Bipolar Battle (@bipolarBattle) empathizing with people battling this mental health condition, 11.5K followers
- Dr. Alice Boyes, PHD (@DrAliceBoyes) author “The Healthy Mind Toolkit” and “The Anxiety Toolkit,” 11.2K followers
- David Susman, PHD (@DavidSusman) advocate and resource for better mental health, 11.1K followers
- The Anxiety Man (@RealAnxietyMan) sharing insight from real experiences with depression and anxiety, 9.3K followers
- Ruth Fox (@FoxInTheBox05) mental health advocate sharing personal stories, 8.6K followers
- Therese Borchard (@thereseborchard) mental health writer and activist, 6.7K followers
- Scott Ste Marie (@expressionscott) honest dialogue about mental health, 2.9K followers
In addition to individuals, there are plenty of mental health organizations offering help on Twitter. Here are the top six accounts for those suffering with all types of mental health, from anxiety to suicidal thoughts, including a mental health organization located in Canada with intentions of creating a stigma-free country:
- PsychCentral (@PsychCentral)
- Rethink Mental Illness (@Rethink_)
- NoStigmas (@NoStigmas)
- National Alliance for Mental Illness (@NAMICommunicate)
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (@afspnational)
- Bell Let’s Talk (@Bell_LetsTalk)
For those suffering with mental health, Twitter is one place to find sympathy, support and a space to tell personal stories, according to Project UROK (@ProjectUROK), an organization that took to Twitter to get it message out. The project hopes to end the stigma around mental illness by posting video testimonials of real people who want to share their experiences.