Mental Matters May 2013 - Page 9

An insight from expert Dr Trevor Lakey ally bad for your mental health. I don't doubt potentially some people do live their life on these social networks but with everything in life, you need to strike a balance and recognise that actually – we should be embracing this. The NHS seems to fear the unknown and social media hits the jackpot. However, some initiatives are being driven forward and discussions are taking place. The Internet needs to be a safe place that protects staff an patients and with simple guidelines – then this is achievable. “At that point, I felt there was an opportunity to use social media in a more planned way. “My NHS board didn't have a social media policy for employees to use it without jumping through several hoops. “Therefore, I decided to set up my own private twitter account to use outside of work but to explore topics close to my job. “I found fairly rapidly there was a huge benefit of being on twitter.” If only it was as straight forward back here in Scotland and debates will likely continue over the merits of social media in a medical context. In larger public organisations there is always going to be constraints as more time is need to consider things. A growing number of people are pushing for change and modernisation – the time has come to embrace the technology we have. evident and they need time to continue to prosper, more people need to get involved and see the benefits of embracing the Internet. DEBATE BOUNDARIES Dr Trevor Lakey works as a health improvement officer in Glasgow and is involved in many projects which put social media at the forefront of all things mental health. A pioneer of the Mindwaves project is one small strand of the work he does. Taking part and viewing the online chats which take place on Twitter is something that he has engaged with and learns from. It provides a platform for the NHS taking social media seriously and providing projects all across Scotland. Trevor said: “My career is all about communication and dialogue. “Whilst looking online, I could see more and more people using social media in a professional way, rather than for social link ups. “I attended a conference a few years ago hosted by Chris O'Sullivan (he works for the Mental Health Foundation) on social media within mental health. COMMUNICATING “I started to learn things from other initiatives that I could start to use in my own daily work from places like Australia. “Both myself and my colleagues tapped into things lik