Telling your story - blogging or vlogging for Mind

You’ve put into words how I feel

We believe that no-one should have to face a mental health problem alone – and blogs, real stories from real people, can play a part in achieving this.

Reading a blog or watching a vlog by someone going through a familiar experience can have a big impact. ‘You’ve put into words how I feel’ is a comment we often see on our guest blogs. And reading or watching a piece about an experience we didn’t know about can open up our eyes, give us a unique insight and help us learn.

These guidelines explain what we’re looking for from blogs and vlogs, including topics we’re particularly interested in at the moment, and tell you how to submit an idea (for blogs, we ask for a 100 to 200 word proposal at first).

Before we begin…

  • Are you feeling ok? These guidelines are for people who are feeling well enough to tell their story. If you’re not sure you feel up to it yet, or need to talk to someone right now, visit our helplines page or the ‘I need urgent help’ section.
  • We get far more blog submissions that we can publish, or respond to, so please don’t be disappointed if you don’t hear back from us.

Planning your blog/vlog

Before you submit your vlog (which we call ‘mental health selfies’) or blog proposal, take some time to think about what you want to share, what might be the best way to engage people and how you can get your point across.

  1. Keep it personal and focused on events in your life – our supporters tend to prefer blogs or vlogs that describe real-life events rather than abstract ideas.

  2. What period in your life would you like to focus on? Resist the temptation to cover your whole life story. This will be far too much for one blog or vlog. It’s usually much more effective to focus on a shorter, defined period.

  3. Describe particular moments or events and how they made you feel. Sometimes little moments can help readers to understand your point and how things were/are for you.

    • Claire, for example, describes being shouted at by the custody sergeant, which gives a powerful insight into how afraid she was in the situation.

      I was so scared of crossing the line on the floor as there were signs everywhere saying not to but then I was shouted at to cross the line because the sergeant couldn’t hear me. My heart was thumping with panic.

    • Hope describes the moment her Mum dropped her off at the hospital:

      I stood in the entrance with my suitcase as my Mum dropped me off… tears streamed down my face and I was absolutely terrified

  4. Try not to shy away from the difficult bits – these are the experiences that make your story real and interesting. Without them, there is no story! How did you get through these moments or cope with these feelings? (If you find these bits too painful to write about, perhaps you should put the blog/vlog to one side until you feel more able to work on it – put your wellbeing first.)

  5. Have you come on a journey? How were things for you at the start of your story, compared to how they are now? Do you feel you have changed at all, because of what happened?

  6. Do you have any tips or advice you’d like to share? What would you say to someone going through a similar experience?

Writing your blog

 Style

We find that blogs work best when the style is informal and conversational. Here are some tips:

  • Write as if you were talking. Picture someone you’d like to tell your story to and imagine telling it to them in person as you write.
  • Be yourself. Don’t feel you need to be ‘a writer’– just be you! Let your personality come through in your writing (writing as if you were talking will help with this).
  • Use short words instead of long words where possible, for example ‘try’ instead of ‘endeavour’.
  • Use short sentences and short paragraphs.

 Structure

  • Think about your opening sentence. What can you say that will have an impact on your readers and get them interested straight away? This doesn’t mean you need to say something shocking, it could be something simple and honest.
  • Think about the events in your story and build your story around these. Stay focused and keep it simple – make it easy for your reader to understand what’s going on. Avoid repeating yourself.
  • Once you’ve finished, try to read through your blog/story from the perspective of one of your readers. Will it make sense to them? Is it focused? Edit it to make any changes/improvements you think are needed. Most writers say that editing their story down to size is most difficult – but also the most useful – part of the process.
  • Aim for your blog to be between 600 and 1,000 words in length.

Topics we’re looking for

We try to make sure our guest blogs cover a wide range of topics and experiences. We’ll consider proposals on any topic as long as it’s related to mental health and based on your personal experience.

We also look for blogs on specific topics, for example to link in with our current campaigns or new information in our A to Z. At the moment we’re really keen to receive blog proposals on:

  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Taking antipsychotics
  • Using advocacy services
  • Using crisis services
  • Staying safe online
  • Using a Personal Budget
  • Managing money
  • How food affects your mood
  • How physical activity affects your mood
  • Relaxation
  • Managing stress
  • Mindfulness
  • Ecotherapy


Occasionally, we publish personal reactions to things such as TV shows about mental health (for example, these reactions to the programme ‘Being Bipolar’ by Charlotte and Laura) so if you notice a programme coming up you’d like to blog about, please let us know using the submissions form below.

What we can't publish

Opinion pieces

We don't often publish opinion pieces from guest bloggers, e.g. views on a mental health or political issues, because we find these are best covered by our campaigns team. However, if you have a personal story which relates to our current campaigns, we would love to hear from you.

Triggering descriptions of suicide or self-harm

  • When talking about these, it's important to focus on feelings, not behaviours
  • Avoid giving detailed descriptions or talking about methods
  • Read more about why this is important

We don’t use previously-published material. However, after publication on the Mind blog, you are welcome to cross-post your story on your own personal blog

Submitting your idea - blog

Please bear in mind the points in the planning your blog section when submitting your idea. Be as specific as you can, i.e. briefly describe any events or moments you'd like to write about, your feelings, changes in your life or tips you'd like to share.

Please read this: We receive far more proposals than we are able to publish or respond to. Please don’t be too disappointed if you don’t hear back from us. You might decide to start your own blog on a free site like Tumblr, Wordpress or Blogger. If you do please share your stories with us on our Tumblr page. We’d recommend you read Mind’s ‘How to stay safe online information’ before starting your own blog.

Submitting your idea - vlog

Find out more about making a vlog and how to submit your video.

Blog publication process

If we are able to take your proposal forward, we’ll email you to let you know. As we receive a lot of proposals, this can sometimes take a few weeks.

We will usually edit your final blog for clarity, plain English and web usability. We make changes to nearly all blogs, even ones we really love, so they fit our house style. If we change your blog significantly, we will send it back to you to view before publishing. When we edit your post, we will provide links to our own information and remove any which are promoting or advertising commercial companies.

As we plan our blog content up to a month in advance, it can take a while for your story to be published. We will always make sure we email you two days before publication, unless we've discussed a sooner date with you.

At the end of your post please include a short title and a biography, which may include your personal blog/website and Twitter handle. If you would like to include a photo of yourself, please make sure it is website quality and ideally resized to 284 x 214 pixels (if you're not sure how to do this, we can do it for you).

You don’t have to use your real name if you don’t want to. We understand some people haven’t told their friends, family or employer about their mental health problem and aren’t yet ready to. You’re welcome to use a pseudonym if you wish – just let us know when you submit your story.

Other information

Comments

A blog post starts a conversation and invites others to comment and share their own experiences. Please remember to be courteous to your commenters, and to assume that their questions are asked in good faith. All comments are moderated, but if you have any concerns about them, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Legal points

By submitting a post for publication on Mind’s blog, you are confirming that the rights to any materials used are yours, and that any sources are credited as necessary.

You are also granting Mind, its licensees, assignees, and other successors-in-interest, all rights to the copy.

We may reproduce your blog, or quotes from your blog, in public relations (PR), electronic media and promotional materials.

We reserve the right not to publish any blog post submitted.

Any details you provide will be kept in line with Mind's privacy policy.

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