Guest Post | Social Media & First Responder Mental Health – Your Chance to Participate

Guest blogger: Tommy Hipper is currently pursuing his Masters degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and his proposed thesis is: How social media can be utilized to improve first responder mental health.

The past few years have clearly demonstrated the power and value of social media in crisis situations. The examples range from the 2007 California wildfires to the 2010 H1N1 outbreak to the recent earthquake in Haiti.

The principal focus of social media in this sphere has been the ways in which social media can be used to improve disaster preparedness and response. That said, the broader domain of social media in crisis situations remains an emerging field and there are still areas needing greater understanding. The role of social media in the health of first responders is one of these areas. I have yet to come across much literature connecting social media to mental health preparedness, despite the fact that this area holds great promise.

Ultimately, via my research and thesis, I hope to demonstrate how social media could be an effective tool in reducing the adverse mental health effects suffered by first responders following a disaster. As this topic is inherently a social one, I am turning to the broader community for insight and help on this. I am interested to hear what, if at all, you think about this issue. Any insights, opinions, or resources that you may have that you think I should consider would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to drop a comment, a link to a resource (scholarly or other) or email me at tommyhipper (at) gmail (dot) com if you have any thoughts. Thanks for reading and I look forward to hearing from you!

originally posted at: http://andrewpwilson.posterous.com/guest-post-social-media-first-responder-menta

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Andrew Wilson


Most of the comments have not been specific as yet but have had some valuable input about the approach & some of the challenges (see http://andrewpwilson.posterous.com/guest-post-social-media-first-responder-menta). Also had @poplifegirl cross post on the #crisiscommons blog and great to see the preparedness community pitch in on this. This may already be occurring much more than I realize but believe there must be some pretty cool opportunities for students to do some pre-thesis engagement (as background) these days.