Michael Brown, winner of the Mark Hanson Digital Media Award at last year’s Mind Media Awards, chats to Carl Burkitt about his blog Mental Health Cop for our webwatch page in the Spring issue of Mind Membership News.
What’s your blog about?
I try to explain mental health law to police officers, helping them understand the legal frameworks on which they have little training. I started by writing short pieces about laws and clinical risks, trying to include helpful tips, to reduce the amount of reading officers need to do to understand this critical knowledge.
Why did you start it?
Whilst working on mental health for the Association of Chief Police Officers and the College of Policing, I kept receiving calls and emails about the same issues. Police officers at all levels told me they wanted an internet resource and it struck me that a blog – Mental Health Cop – would be accessible to all.
I had just two hours of mental health training, which was frustrating. I think the blog helps fill a gap in training. But the police are getting better all the time and there’s increasing appreciation of the importance of getting mental health issues right.
How many readers do you have and how do they find your blog?
There are 500 subscribers to Mental Health Cop New posts are emailed to subscribers automatically by Wordpress, but the majority of referrals come from Twitter. I have actively tried to establish a social media presence and with well over 8,000 Twitter followers I’m read about 1,000 times a day by police officers, health and social care professionals, patients, academics, families and carers.
How do you feel about winning a Mind media award?
I am nothing short of absolutely stunned and delighted! I really didn’t expect to win the award but since doing so, have found far greater interest in my work and an upturn in readers and Twitter followers.
What are your blog plans for the future?
I just keep making it up as I go! I didn’t set out with a master plan and I don’t want to try and write one now. I’m keen to set up a YouTube channel and see if I can make meaningful “vlogs”.
How do you fit blogging in to your working life?
I work a 24/7 shift pattern so I write late at night when my family are in bed or during the day when they’re at work and school. The time I can spend writing and researching varies, but I like to do at least one new article every week.
Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of starting a blog?
I’d say that to get yourself established you need to commit to building an audience. In my opinion, you need to be on Twitter, which I view as the most impactful and flexible method to get your blog known.
Check out Michael’s award winning Mental Health Cop blog.
If you want to try your hand at blogging, you could start with our Mind blog. We’re always on the lookout for writing talent – take a look here mind.org.uk/blog If you would like to recommend a helpful mental health website or blog for Carl to feature on this page please let the membership team know by email.
Carl Burkitt is a volunteer writer for Mind Membership News, if you’d like to see more of Carl’s work on his website.