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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Department of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

Last Updated: 9/17/2014

SAMHSA’s Resource Center to Promote Acceptance,
Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with
Mental Health (ADS Center)


IT Strategies to Promote Social Inclusion

To access the archived presentation please select one or several of the options below.

Training Summary

Online recovery tools can take different forms, including Internet forums, blogs, wikis, podcasts, picture sharing and video.  The most popular, social networking sites, has become the most prevalent online tool to connect with other individuals regardless of their location. The opportunity to talk and develop a relationship with another individual can prevent the sense of isolation which can increase stress levels as well as reduce the chance of recovering from a mental health problem.

According to a recent report from Nielsen Online, the time that Americans spend on social networking sites is up 83% from just one year ago.  Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and MySpace are the most popular sites that individuals meet to discuss a number of topics or share pictures with one another.  One of the newer social networking sites, Meetup, helps groups of people with shared interests plan meetings and form offline clubs in local communities around the world.  For persons in recovery, SoberCircle gives users the ability to communicate with one another and strengthen their recovery through the encouragement of others who can relate to their situation. 

These online tools support the human need for interaction during the period of recovery.  They also transform people from content consumers into content producers, giving people in recovery a sense of accomplishment and empowerment. It is noted that social connections help promote better health and happiness in individuals and can buffer stress. 

This training will:

  • Define how individuals in recovery can use online components to create supportive communities.

  • Discuss the various types of online components such as social networking and other media mechanisms bridge geographical and social gaps that can lead to isolation.

  • Provide strategies on how to create online recovery tools.


Rowena Tse
Campaign Director
Advertisting Council

Rowena Tse is Campaign Director at The Advertising Council.  In this position, she manages the day-to-day development of several national public service advertising campaigns for private non-profit and federal government agency sponsors, including SAMHSA’s Campaign for Mental Health Recovery.   Prior to joining the Ad Council in April 2008, Ms. Tse spent seven years in account management at advertising agencies Draft and Ogilvy and Mather in New York City, working primarily on issue-related campaigns.  Her past experience includes developing advertising for the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, U.S. 2010 Census and the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Ms. Tse holds a B.S. in Marketing and Information Systems from New York University, and is currently pursuing a M.S. in Strategic Communications, with a concentration in non-profit communications, at Columbia University. 

A native of Hong Kong, Ms. Tse currently resides in New York City.

Keith Mahar
Community Development Coordinator

Keith Mahar is a mental health advocate, activist and professional social worker in Canberra, Australia.  Keith was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1996 and has been active as a mental health advocate in local, national and international initiatives. He made a presentation on his own recovery at the World Psychiatric Association International Congress 2007 and is creator of; described by the Mental Health Council of Australia as a world first website and a creative approach to promoting awareness of recovery.  Keith was formerly a corporate broadcasting manager in Canada.  He is also a precedent-setting public interest litigant (Mahar v. Rogers Cablesystems Ltd.) whose activism in the broadcasting sector has resulted in Canadian parliamentary debate.

Cindy Specht
Program Director
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

As DBSA's Vice President of Products & Programs, Cindy Specht leads the development of on- and off-line educational programs, events and communications. Cindy has an extensive background in program development, consulting and marketing with a particular emphasis in technology integration.

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This Web site was developed under contract with the Office of Consumer Affairs in SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services. The views, opinions, and content provided on this Web site do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of SAMHSA or HHS. The resources listed in this Web site are not all-inclusive and inclusion on this Web site does not constitute an endorsement by SAMHSA or HHS.