This article encapsulates well the significant role of social media in particularly in creating online communities whereby patients can exchange experiences, increase knowledge of their own conditions and share potential solutions. It also flags up areas of concern anyone new to social media as a healthcare professional or engaged patient should bear in mind.
One such online community that has helped me immensely has been the weekly #bpdchat on Twitter. Here’s what the organiser of the chat Carl Dunn Junior told The Edge about the benefit of the chat:
“#BPDChat is one example of what can happen when people come together in mutual support. It is a weekly peer-based, moderated Twitter chat for anyone with Borderline Personality Disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) involves problems regulating emotions. BPD has an optimistic prognosis if treated with effective, evidence-based therapy such as Dialectical BehaviorBehaviour Therapy (DBT) or Mentalization-based therapy (MBT). Unfortunately, many mental health professionals are not aware of this and DBT and MBT are is not available or affordable for many people.
#BPDChat is often the first chance people with BPD have ever had to talk to someone else suffering with from BPD and the first time many have heard there’s an effective therapy. For some the chat is a way to overcome isolation. #BPDChat has also been a place where people can share and learn coping skills that are helpful in overcoming BPD.
After more than 3 years #BPDChat is still going strong and is an example of how people use social media to aid their recovery.”
Carl remarks that the concerns expressed in the article about privacy have been outweighed by the clear benefits with people able to maintain their anonymity should they choose.
All in all #BPD chat has become precisely one of the “pods of solidarity” mentioned in the article and has become a major lynchpin of my week.