Blogs and 'vlogs' (video blogs) about mental health issues have become increasingly popular in recent years. You can search easily on various video content sites and find people from all around the world sharing their recovery stories or just visually documenting their condition and how it affects them. We even have our own video blog on our YouTube channel, so feel free to subscribe.
As technology moves on, blogs in all their guises have become easier and easier to set-up and share, either with the world at large or just those closest to you. People with mental health issues regularly use them as both a therapeutic exercise to describe what they're going through and also to help to fight the stigma of mental illness that's closest to them. If you've never 'blogged', then maybe now might be the perfect time to give it a try!
As we said, people who blog about their experiences do it for a multitude of reasons. We have our own blog (here) in which Gary, our founder, documents his experiences of living with PTSD, anxiety and depression (along with other general musings). He nearly won an award for his writing, so he can't be that bad!
We also regularly host other written blogs submitted by other people (here), but the internet is full of mental health-related blogs from all over the world. Some you'll like, some you might not, but that's ok too.
People living with all manner of conditions, take time to write a blog or capture their most intimate, surprising or difficult moments through a camera lens or a website to help themselves and others around the globe. If this is something you think you might like to try, here are some helpful tips.
Think of blogging, in its traditional sense, in the same way you might have kept a journal or a diary. Instead of paper and pen, we now have a webpage and a keyboard. Blogging is effectively an online diary, but without the necessity to record it daily or tell it who you've got a man-crush on...well you can still do that!
Blogs detail your thoughts, opinions, experiences and feelings about, well anything really. It doesn't have to be about mental health. Whatever your interest might be, however niche, doubtless there will be a blog about it somewhere.
If it's something you think would like to do, then there are a number of options when it comes to setting up your own blog. Some sites require you to pay for some (or all) of their features, but many others are completely FREE. Depending on what you're going to want to capture, then the site you choose will vary.
If you're a interested in a primarily text-based blog, then sites like WordPress, Blogger or Medium may be your best bet. If you're wanting to add more images to your blog, then sites like Tumblr are great for that. As all these sites are free, you will be restricted in the URL (the website address) you can choose. Often they will incorporate their brand name into the address, e.g. www.yourblogname.wordpress.com.
If you do want your own website, i.e. www.yourblogname.com (or .something), then you'll need to buy both the domain name (the bit inbetween the www. and the .com (or .something) and you'll need to pay for a service to host the blog. Prices for hosting and the domain name (known as a URL) can vary, so shop around. If that doesn't bother you, then you can be away in minutes and for FREE!
Once you're registered on any site, have came up with a catchy (or non-catchy) name for your blog, then your new online presence will be good to go. Once set-up, you can create an entry, called a post, whenever you feel the urge. Adding keywords and a description will help people find you.
Don't be disheartened if the world doesn't come flocking to your blog immediately. Do it because YOU want to. As more and more people read it and share it, more and more people will get to know about it and its popularity will grow, as will your confidence as a blogger.
If you need inspiration on what to write, take a look at other people's blogs first. If you like or are moved by what they've wrote, leave a comment (but be polite) and they will often reciprocate by visiting your blog and doing the same.
Try not to worry too much about creating literary masterpieces or worry about the 'punctuation police' or the 'grammar nazis', just be honest and genuine. People will always be attracted to honest, original and frank story-telling. It might be hard to write at times, but keep at it. Like anything, practice makes perfect (or much, much better at least).
Vlogging, or video blogging, has grown massively in recent years. With the advent of site likes YouTube, Vimeo, Vine or DailyMotion, being able to create your own video content and upload it easily has made 'vlogging' an exciting new way of recording your thoughts.
Maybe you've been blogging for awhile and are looking to mix it up a little, or perhaps you just feel more comfortable with recording your thoughts rather than writing them down. If that's the case then 'vlogging' could be right up your street.com!
The team here were initially hesitant about video blogging, but after we tried it, we were hooked. You can subscribe to our channel here. Aww go on. You know you want to.
One of the reasons, vlogging has become so popular is because it is so easy to do and it's pretty much completely free! Whilst it isn't the only site out there, YouTube is by far the biggest and most popular site when it comes to user-generated video content.
Anyone with an account can record a video and upload it to YouTube in minutes and you don't need a Hollywood-style production outfit to create great looking videos.
If you've got a computer with a webcam or a smartphone with a video camera, then you're already set up and ready to go to start video blogging. It can be a little disconcerting seeing yourself on screen at first, so it may be worth doing a few practice runs before shouting "action".
Once your video is recorded, there will be a 'share' button somewhere which will allow you to upload your video to the site. If you're feeling confident or develop a passion for it, then you can always add a little more production values later on.
You can use video editing software to add titles, graphics, effects or transitions to your videos or just go for the 'au-natural', guerrilla style form of video blogging. It's really up to you and the style you're going for.
Once the video is recorded, you don't have to share it with world. You can make your videos private or only viewable by those you invite. It may be worth playing around with the settings on YouTube before uploading, so you are comfortable with how it works.
If you still want to record video, but want it to be short and snappy, then check out Vine. Think of Vine like the video version of Twitter; very short, looping videos. It may not be suitable for traditional 'vlogging' but can be used for some quite inspired ways of getting your message across.
Incidentally, there are sites dedicated to privately logging your thoughts. Mindlogr is one such site. It's not free (but is very cheap, even the premium feature set) and does provide a way to record your thoughts in an efficient, fun and private way.
Over time blogging (or vlogging) will create an amazing snapshot of your life. You'll look back at times when you were struggling and see you were strong enough to get through them. The only thing to worry about will be your various haircuts. Seriously, what WERE you thinking!
If any of this has inspired you to create your own blog or 'vlog', then share it with us using our social media platforms below. We'd be so proud to see it. Happy blogging!