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Tweet-up draws hundreds of participants

In one hour, almost 1,000 tweets were logged from more than 500 users during a Twitter-based mental health awareness campaign presented by the Canadian Heroes Foundation, says Toronto family lawyer Kathryn Hendrikx, who participated in the online event.

Hendrikx, partner with Brauti Thorning Zibarras LLP, was part of a tweet-up that took place March 22 with an aim to raise awareness surrounding mental health issues faced by first responders. In total, 959 tweets were sent out from 517 unique tweeters during the event.

“The goal was to see how many individual Twitter users we could interact with in one hour using the hashtags #MentalHealth #Depression and #PTSD,” Hendrikx tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“So often mental health issues are addressed through medical research or through government studies,however, one of the biggest problems is getting people to actually communicate about depression and mental health, either with their own individual family or peer group or to a professional. The idea was to try and expose the fact that there are a lot of people in our daily lives and the general community going through mental health issues, and one of the biggest barriers is just being able to tell friends,  parents or colleagues,” she says.

“If you can just show that there are people willing to put their hand up and say, ‘Yeah, I feel that way too,’ it can help.”

As an added participation incentive, Hendrikx donated 20 tickets to an Ottawa Senators game to be given away during the tweet-up.

“Our firm does a lot of work for first responders like police officers, so working with the Canadian Heroes Foundation made perfect sense,” she says. “A lot of people are more comfortable talking about these issues on social media, so this was a way to bridge the gap.”

Follow Hendrikx on Twitter here.

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