Destigmatizing Mental Health Through Storytelling – #HITsm Chat Topic

We’re excited to share the topic and questions for this week’s #HITsm chat happening Friday, 4/26 at Noon ET (9 AM PT). This week’s chat will be hosted by Janae Sharp (@coherencemed) from the Sharp Index on the topic of “Destigmatizing Mental Health Through Storytelling”.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you” -Maya Angelou

A year after John died by suicide my daughter found the obituary and left a comment. I didn’t find that comment for another year. She was 10 years old and she looked up her father dying online. She asked me questions about suicide and about everything. People are willing to look online for communities and answers to questions that they can’t talk about directly.

When John died I didn’t understand why it was so difficult for me. I didn’t understand why I had trouble and felt all the feelings at once. I found stories online. I saw the work of people like @deseraestage sharing about suicide attempt survivors. There were stories of loss survivors that helped me navigate my difficult emotions and make sense of myself. She also answered questions I had directly.

Storytelling decreases our loneliness and is uniquely positioned to improve mental health.

The online community leaves us both more connected than ever before and has been reported to increase risk of depression and bullying. What is it about the stories we tell online and our online personas that have such a huge impact on connection? Personal stories can connect us emotionally and drive change for the better. There are several movements to share stories to break down stigma and approach difficult topics.

Marketing and health IT professionals have a unique job of connecting people and are uniquely positioned to understand how storytelling can break down barriers. When we see people we relate to online, our common ground can be healing and can drive action. Where is the balance and the responsibility in online storytelling to break down stigma and improve mental health? We can do more than just sell products, we can add healing to people and our stories will be what they find online when they are searching.

Join us as we talk about stories and the ways social media and healthcare communities can help those suffering from mental health challenges.

Topics for this week’s #HITsm Chat:
T1: Do you remember a story that helped you through a hard time? #HITsm

T2: How do you set healthy boundaries with sharing stories and maintaining privacy? #HITsm

T3: Can you have a powerful story without a call to action or a happy ending? #HITsm

T4: What mental health stigmas have you seen in your culture or in others? #HITsm

T5: What is the role of social media in breaking down barriers? #HITsm

BONUS: Some criticize social media as being bad for mental health- what do you think? #HITsm

Upcoming #HITsm Chat Schedule
5/3 – Qualitative Value in a Quantitative World
Hosted by Erica Johansen (@thegr8chalupa)

5/10 – Five-Star Healthcare Ratings Programs
Hosted by Tom Martin (@CarePortHealth)

5/17 – Awareness and Social Media Fundamentals for Patient Communities
Hosted by Amanda (@LALupusLady)

5/24 – TBD
Hosted by Sean Erreger, LCSW (@StuckonSW)

5/31 – Real-Time Messaging and Collaboration Tools Inside a Care Setting
Hosted by Greg Meyer (@Greg_Meyer93)

We look forward to learning from the #HITsm community! As always, let us know if you’d like to host a future #HITsm chat or if you know someone you think we should invite to host.

If you’re searching for the latest #HITsm chat, you can always find the latest #HITsm chat and schedule of chats here.

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Hey John! Do you need someone for that 5/10 TBD chat slot? I would be happy to lead a discussion of either “women in healthcare” or something about “generosity as the influence superpower.” Email me!

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