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CAMH – Mental Health Conversations on Wikis, Podcasts, and Mainstream Social Media
This week, my blog series will be focusing on several Canadian online healthcare social networks. This is part 5 of 5. The previous posts of the series can be found here;
- Upopolis: Social Media for Kids in Hospitals
- TeenConnector.ca: Where Canadian Teens with Cancer Connect
- CaringVoices: Princess Margaret Hospital Offers Online Support for Cancer Patients
- VirtualHospice.ca: Online Palliative Care Community & Resources
The featured Canadian healthcare social network for today is the CAMH Knowledge Exchange site. I saved this one for last because it is unique compared to all the others that we have visited over the past week, in that the target audience for the online community consists of healthcare professionals mostly, with one special feature for caregivers and families.
It was serendipity that brought me to this site, because I was searching through the CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) site to see if they were hosting any kind of online social networks for their patients / clients. This seemed like a reasonable spot to search considering that the Forrester Inc. Research, April 22 2009 report suggests that people afflicted with mental illnesses tend to be active participants and may benefit the most from online social networking.
As I scoured through the CAMH site, I came across a page called ‘Knowledge Exchange’, which included a wiki. The wiki had very little content, but it looked interesting nonetheless. It is at that point that I connected with Krystyna Ross, the Publisher and Manager of Publication Services at CAMH, and discovered that the wiki had not even been officially launched yet. It is scheduled to be launched in a few weeks, and only a handful of people have had the opportunity to use the site for beta testing purposes. You get a sneak peek of the beta version before it goes live!
What is CAMH Knowledge Exchange?
CAMH Knowledge Exchange is different than the overarching CAMH.net site in that it is specifically designed for healthcare professionals (HCP) (Psychiatrists, social workers, policy makers, nurses, pharmacists, allied professionals). The objective is to collect reliable information for this target audience and to provide them with practical tools and resources. The tools and resources will not be exclusive to CAMH info, but will also include linking to other sites and articles with info that are deemed to be valuable for the HCPs.
In order to be a single source of reliable info, the site also features collaborative tools, such as the wiki, as well as blogging and discussion board capabilities. Other features are planned for future implementation. Users will have the option to set up secured and partially-secured shared work spaces. A couple of wiki projects have already started during the beta period; an international group of HCPs is working together on a paper and another group is revising guidelines related to mental health.
Another key audience for the Knowledge Exchange site consists of the primary care physicians. According to CAMH, family physicians and general practitioners are the ones who see the most patients with mental health and addiction problems. Therefore, CAMH will be including some very succinct information that will have practical clinical use (ie. quick screening tools, tips on when to refer or when to manage patients in own practice). St-Joseph’s Hospital is working with CAMH on an Addiction Toolkit for primary care providers, and there will be additional toolkits to come.
GPs may be able to participate in some wikis as well. This will depend on the wiki and its purpose. Participation in the wikis is determined by the people running the individual wikis and their objectives.
How will the CAMH Knowledge Exchange be promoted?
CAMH will start promoting the Knowledge Exchange site as soon as the official launch takes place. As part of their promotion, here is a copy of the postcard (top image is the front and bottom image is the back of the postcard) that CAMH developed in-house, which will be distributed to HCPs in the mental health and addiction field.
Are there any CAMH social networks that are specifically geared towards the patients / clients and their families?
Currently, there is a FaceBook fan page and two official Twitter accounts for CAMH ( for media updates, and representing the CAMH Foundation), plus a new website set up by family council that represents patients, but no customized discussion boards or online community … well at least not yet!
Also, on January 18 2010, CAMH announced a podcast series called Teens and Tweens, features interviews with experts in adolescent mental health and addictions, and is targeted at educators, parents, social workers, and others who work with teens. The podcast series will cover various mental health and addictions issues. Listeners will be able to propose topics for future episodes as well as engage with other listeners on the Knowledge Exchange portal.
Are there any advertising or sponsorship opportunities on the Knowledge Exchange site or wiki?
At the moment, CAMH has not decided how they would like to proceed regarding external partnerships or sponsorships. However, CAMH will have opportunities to host sites for other community agencies or HCPs who focus on mental health or addiction. For such partnerships, only Canadian organizations / HCPs will be considered.
Interested in discussing partnership or sponsorship opportunities with the CAMH Knowledge Exchange, then please contact Krystyna Ross at Krystyna_Ross@camh.net .
DISCLOSURE: I have not been paid to write this article, and the organizations mentioned are not clients.
This concludes part I of my blog series on Canadian online healthcare social networks. That’s right … there is a part II coming soon, but there is a bit more work left to be done. Stay tuned!
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