Okay, lovely ladies and goodly gentlemen — and all the rest of you rabble as well ;) — I honestly had no intention of writing a second Blog For Mental Health 2014 “pre-post”. Thing is, the official post was hovering somewhere around an elephant of 1,500 words, and they were all pretty necessary. So I’m sending this one out with some background, both on what Blog For Mental Health is (for those who were not with us last year), and the reasoning behind the changes that have been made for 2014 (for those of you who were).
What Is Blog For Mental Health?
To quote the founder of the project, Lulu:
I found myself interested in an official blogging project to raise awareness for mental health education. I sifted through Google for awhile, unable to find anything like it. And I thought, “Why don’t I start one?” It would be easy!
So, Lulu being Lulu, she did! And loves, in the last two years it has spread like wildfire, both with mental health bloggers and non-mental health bloggers alike.
The official instructions on participating in Blog For Mental Health 2014 will be shared in the launch post, which goes live January 7th, just two days hence. I know, I know. . . I’m as anxious as you are! In the meantime, please read the following. It’s a bit of discussion about the major things that didn’t work as well as they could have during last year’s pledge process, and how they will be different — better — this year.
What’s So Different About BFMH 2014?
First off, an issue that came up a great many times last year was one which I (ironically) identified with very well. Many felt that since their blogs were not strictly about mental health, they couldn’t or didn’t feel right about pledging. That was me in 2012, folks.
Despite the fact that I had already helped to create a site dedicated to mental health, I didn’t want my personal blog to be labelled as a “mental health blog”. There was so much more to what I was writing, there was so much more to me! And I was in a place in my personal life where I was pretty damned sick of being called mentally ill. My blog was my last frontier.
But then I learned a funny thing. Mental health is never the only aspect of anyone’s life. Moreover, you do not have to have a mental illness, diagnosed or otherwise, to be affected by and want to raise awareness about mental health. It’s everyone’s business, and we should treat it that way.
(And as for my blog being my “last frontier”? May it suffice to say I was in a very defensive place in my life.)
So, for those of you who raised this issue with me in 2013 — and quite a few did — I hope this helps to clarify that point and makes you feel more comfortable with participating.
Secondly, many people were uncomfortable with “pledging” other bloggers, putting an obligation on them, or even just didn’t know enough individuals whom they felt they could pledge.
The pledging component of BFMH was never meant in an obligatory way, and certainly it wasn’t meant to have the “chain mail” feel that has soured so many bloggers on blog awards and anything that bears even the faintest resemblance to them.
“Pledging” was meant solely to help share this campaign; to raise awareness about it and mental health issues generally. Thus, this year it has been done away with. However, because we all still want to raise that awareness, and because of the nature both of what Canvas does for those who do pledge, and the nature of blogging — one post getting read and pieces from that post getting lost — I know last year there were a great many bloggers who pledged in 2013 and were missed.
This cannot be completely fixed, and while I do not ask you to pledge anyone, please do direct readers back to the BFMH 2014 launch post on Canvas (once it’s published on Tuesday!) with a link to it in your own piece, so that everyone can enjoy the full benefits of the campaign, and so I can get a good, accurate read on the numbers — and much more importantly, so I can read the stories of those who become involved.
So now, when Blog For Mental Health 2014 goes live on January 7th, you’ll have already have a head start on what has been adjusted, as well as a great deal less reading to do, so you can get down to the business of writing!
Thank you all so much for bearing with me through this unscheduled bulletin. As some of you know, I was extremely sick during the last three months of 2013, and I’m still a bit weak and not altogether myself. I’ll write more about that another time, but the point is it took a lot of the time I had planned to be prepping for BFMH 2014 away from me. So you will forgive me, I hope, if I’m fine-tuning still down to minute zero.
Lots of love,
© Ruby Tuesday and A Canvas Of The Minds 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ruby Tuesday and A Canvas Of The Minds with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.