One of the best ways to demonstrate your expertise is to give sound, practical advice that would apply to large segments of the general public.
In addition to handouts like tips sheets and fact sheets, you can answer people's questions on social media platforms, connecting with a worldwide audience. If people find your answers helpful, they are likely to share what you wrote on their own social media accounts.
Furthermore, your answers will be indexed on Google, thus helping to boost your ranking in search results.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Quora.com is a question-and-answer platform. There are tons of questions about mental health issues, and you can likely answer many of them. Since since anyone registered at Quora can post an answer, yours will probably carry more weight, as you have professional credentials.
If people like your answer, they will upvote it. Multiple upvotes will attract more views and earn you higher status on Quora.
There are thousands of Facebook discussion groups, public and private. Search for groups that focus on topics in which you have a professional interest.
if you participate frequently in discussions (not just answering questions, but also commenting and acknowledging others) group members will get to know you and trust you. Then, when you do offer general advice, people will likely pay attention, and perhaps "like" or share your post with their contacts.
The Linkedin platform is for business and professional networking. From the menu under the "My Network" tab, you can search for groups on a wide range of topics.
For example, searching for grief shows dozens of groups for professionals to share ideas and experiences, including "Grief and Loss (3,000+ members), "Trauma, Grief and Soul Pain" (2500+ members) and "Grief and Creativity" (2100+ members).
Building a strong presence on Linkedin will help you gain recognition among other professionals. This could lead to referrals from them, or to potential joint projects, such as books or presentations at conferences.
Reddit is somewhat a fire hose of information, with news, questions, opinions, videos and ads. But it's easy to find groups (subreddits) on just about any topic, and the questions are labeled with an orange oval.
For example, a recent question in the subreddit r/ocd is: "How do you focus on school when having a severe episode?"
Start posting and participating, as you would with other online groups. Readers can upvote or give you special acknowledgment.
HARO, which stands for "Help a Reporter Out," started out as a Facebook group, and later expanded into a mailing list connecting journalists with experts. The service is now being used by over 75,000 writers who need input from experts.
Subscribers get emails 3 times a day with queries in several categories. Each query describes the type of information the writer is seeking, with a link to submit your answer.
Depending on the timeliness and relevance of your response, you have a good chance of getting quoted in major magazines and blogs. And your quotes will show up in Google searches.
Fill out your profiles...
For all social media platforms where you offer mental health tips and advice, don't hide behind a pseudonym. Use your real name.
Also, fill out your user profile in all boxes that are relevant. When people find your comments and answers helpful, many will want to learn more about you by clicking on your name to read your profile.
Ethics and risk management considerations
Educating the public about mental health is an important aspect of our professional work. By offering science-based information in plain, helpful language, we can have a positive influence on countless people's lives beyond those of our clients.
As an ethical precaution, when answering questions from non-clients, we recommend that you provide only general information, such as what they might find in a magazine or self-help book.
Also, answer only those questions that you are professionally qualified and competent to answer. You need not have done original research in a given area, nor written scholarly articles, but you should at least have working knowledge and experience.
When providing general information in answer to a question, craft your wording so that it does not appear to be advice focused on the person's specific situation.
Thus, for example, instead of saying, "I recommend that you do xyz," you could say, "Many people find it helpful to do xyz," or "There are several things that professionals recommend, including xyz and abc."
Finally, you might want to add a disclaimer to your postings. e.g., "The above is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as a substitute for professional consultation."