5 Tips For Using Social Media to Raise Awareness this #NSPW #WSPD14


I had the honor of kicking off National Suicide Prevention Week #NSPW (September 8-14) by serving as guest expert on Suicide Prevention Social Media#SPSM chat! We had a fabulous conversation about how to use new media to build virtual advocacy campaigns based on my work with MSW@USC.

Social media is a great tool to raise awareness for a cause when used correctly!  #SPSM is an excellent example of that. Suicide Prevention Social Media Chat meets Sunday nights, 9pm CST . Their mission is to provide timely and engaging expertise in Suicide Prevention Social Media. Generated and curated for professional and public use.

A common question I get is, “HOW do I use social media to help raise awareness around Mental Health?” To get the desired impact, I tend follow a few guidelines. 

My 5 Tips For Using Social Media to Raise Awareness:

Tip 1: Plan early & in detail. Do your research first. Use data to see if a target audience exist. If not, how will you engage them? Make a plan.

Tip2: Two influencers are better than one. Join in solidarity w/ influencers & experts doing important work towards your cause. Collaboration is the key to bigger reach. Why not cross-promote while you’re at it? 

Tip3: Aim to GIVE before you GET. Ask how you can help influencers first & then follow through. I know that I get frustrated when I recieve a random pitch from someone I don’t know asking me to do something for them. Why in the world should I stop what I’m doing to help you? I find it’s much easier to kick-off a collaboration when I lean in and help promote thier work first. 

Tip4: Your site is a venue NOT a newspaper. Host events on your site based on awareness themes: start a blog carnival, Google Hangout, VLOG, podcast, a roundup of the best information in the space,  or resource sharing in one comprehensive space. Then supplent those timely events with tweet chats and real world action. 

Tip5: ALWAYS thank your participants, collaborators & supporters. Your job isn’t done until you do a final round of outreach to demonstrate your gratitude. That way you can check in and see how you can help them out and then build a futre forward support network.

Want a deep-dive description of how I plan my campaigns? Below you’ll find the #SPSM chat recap & all of the resources I shared in one comprehensive place:


Join Me TONIGHT 10pm ET 9/7/14 for #SPSM Chat! #NaBloPoMo

Tonight I have the honor of joining @SPSMChat as the guest expert on Suicide Prevention Social Media #SPSM Chat to help kick off National Suicide Prevention Week #NSPW!


These are some of the questions I’ll be answering during the chat:

  • Why are you passionate about raising awareness for suicide prevention?
  • How does #suicideprevention work come into play as a community manager for @MSWatUSC?
  • Why is social media effective in raising awareness?
  • What are some of the most inspirational testimonials you’ve heard?
  • Tell us about your experience using virtual campaigns to raise awareness around #suicideprevention?
  • How can community leaders come together to make a bigger impact on suicide prevention?

Want more details about the chat? Visit the Suicide Prevention Social Media blog.

Get Involed: check out my schedule of #SuicidePrevention week activities.

Hope to see you there & thanks for helping to raise awareness around Suicide Prevention!

Basking In The Joy Of Marriage Equality. #NaBloPoMo

I’m six days behind, but it’s time to Kick off #NaBloPoMo, also known as “National Blog Posting Month”!In this episode of #NaBloPoMo I’m going to talk about what it feels like to get your marriage license as an LGBT couple. Hint: It feels pretty great.

I meant to get started with daily blogging this past week but let me tell ya, there is A LOT going on right now: launching an early-intervention campaign, a suicide prevention project and not to mention that we’re in the home stretch in planning the wedding. Jenelle and I got engaged last September, only one short year after marriage equality was officially passed in our state. Now that the wedding quickly approaches, we went down to the court house this past week to get our marriage license. The whole experience was a bit surreal.

J & G get MarriageLicense

I am feeling very blessed to be able to marry the love of my life. Eight years ago when we started dating we joked about “some day,” yet the possibility of two women getting legally married didn’t seem in the cards. As of today, it’s been less than two years that we’ve had the privilege in our state to marry and it feels pretty significant that we could simply walk into the court house and get a marriage license. In less than one month it will be official and it feels bigger than ourselves. So thankful for living in the day in age that we do and can’t help but bask in this moment.

It was one of those moments where all of the things we have to do for the wedding fell away, and we could actually sit and take it in. This is real and we couldn’t be happier.

I also want to give a shout out to all of our friends and family who love us and support us. We are so incredibly lucky to have all of you in our lives and it means the world every time you are there for us. Gracias y los quiero mucho!

Feliz Dia De La Mujer! #IWD2014

Feliz Dia De La Mujer! #IWD2014

Feliz Dia de la mujer a todas! Gracias a las que me han inspirado y motivado durante los tiempos difíciles y los dias increibles. A mis amigas, queridas, primas, tias, mi hermana, mi mama y a mis abuelas–es una gran bendición tenerlas en mi vida! Las quiero mucho.

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Why Ellen Is My Shero #WomenInspire

Image thanks to ellentv.com

Gratitude Campaign Badge
USC’s Women Inspire Campaign

In honor of Women’s History Month, USC School of Social Work is hosting a blog carnival focused on the women who inspire us to create change in our community. I think this is an awesome time for me to spread some love for someone who has won the hearts of many: my girl, Ellen.

Not only is Ellen Degeneres hilarious, down to earth, and a fabulous daytime talk show host, but she is also a role model for so many LGBT people. Her coming out story was monumental–she was one of the first people in the public sphere to be openly gay and make it totally OK. Her charisma and big heart make her feel so accessible and down to earth. As my Fiancee JJ always says, “She doesn’t know it yet, but we are totally friends.”

Here are 3 Reasons Why Ellen Is My Shero

Ellen supports the Trevor Project
As you may know, last September I launched a Suicide Prevention and Awareness Campaign through USC School of Social Work because it was an issue very near and dear to my heart. Bullying of LGBT or “perceived” gay students has reached a breaking point in the last five years. A series of LGBT suicides caused the world to take a action against bullying and consider the importance of addressing LGBT youth mental health. The Trevor Project is one of the many great organizations working to prevent LGBT suicide & Ellen made it clear that she fully supports their efforts.

Ellen’s “haters are her motivators”
When JC Penney announced that Ellen would be their spokesperson, 1 Million Moms got all upset because she is gay. This was her awesome response:

She is an advocate for change on a Macro/ legislative level
She sent an AMAZING, funny, and poignant letter to the Supreme Court judges to allow gay people to marry.:

Portia and I have been married for 4 years and they have been the happiest of my life. And in those 4 years, I don’t think we hurt anyone else’s marriage. I asked all of my neighbors and they say they’re fine.

Coming out was one of the hardest things I ever did. I didn’t intend to be on the cover of Time magazine saying, “Yep, I’m gay.” The truth is, I don’t even remember saying that. I mean, I definitely said the “I’m gay” part. It’s the “yep” I don’t remember. I’m not really a “yep” person. “Yes siree Bob” maybe. But not “yep.”

Thank you Ellen, for being you! You are my shero.
Ellen Degeneres is My Shero

I’m celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day by blogging for the #WomenInspire Campaign sponsored by USC’s masters degree in social work program. Join the blog carnival to honor a woman who has inspired you!

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Practicing Gratitude And Counting My Blessings #My3Thanks

Gratitude Campaign Badge
USC’s Gratitude Campaign

As Thanksgiving approaches, USC School of Social Work is hosting a Gratitude Blog Carnival and I figured it was the perfect time to reflect on all of the incredible blessings that have come my way in the last year. Though the campaign is centered around the top 3 thanks of the year, I would like to share my top 10.

This year I am thankful for…






Jenelle and Gaby

Photo credit to the fabulous Alison Dunn Photography



Image credit to Glogster.com







What are you thankful for this year? Check out USC’s Gratitude Campaign & share the Thanksgiving spirit!

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Invitation: Participate In Suicide Prevention Blog Day!

Suicide Awareness and Prevention Blog Day

Hey Friends!
Though there has been a lot going on in my life lately I thought I would come out of hiding to share an amazing campaign coming up this September. The USC School of Social Work is hosting a Blog Day for Suicide Prevention and Awareness and everyone should participate! The campaign starts September 1 and continues through out the month. There are several awesome benefits to participating. If you share a link to your blog article in the campaign comments section, USC will aggregate your post and promote it for you. This is a great way to raise awareness on an important issue while guiding more traffic to your site. Bonus points: Outstanding posts will be featured at the end of the month!

Here is how to participate in the Suicide Prevention Blog Day Campaign:

  • Publish a blog post that incorporates a suicide prevention theme. Mention why raising awareness about this issue matters.
  • Include a link back to our blog campaign description so that your readers can learn how they can raise awareness, too.
  • Place the “Blogging for Suicide Prevention” badge on your post or site using the html code provided on their site (see my badge below).
  • Share your blog post for suicide prevention on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #suicideprevention and #SABD13.
  • Check out our Suicide Awareness Roundup to read, engage and follow bloggers participating in the campaign.
  • Important Note: Please provide a trigger warning if you include any traumatic experiences or images in your blog post.
  • Blogging For Suicide Prevention Badge
    USC’s MSW Programs Blog Day.

    Use these ideas to get your community involved:

  • Share the campaign on your website or blog, newsletter, and social media.
  • Post the campaign badge on your site to show your support.
  • Motivate your community to learn more about suicide prevention.
  • Encourage your family, friends, and colleagues to participate.
  • Print the badge and take a picture with it (or a sign) and share on social #SABD13
  • Hope to see you blogging for suicide awareness this September!

    Stand For Marriage Equality Today!

    Screen Shot 2013-03-26 at 10.18.44 AM

    Today, stand in solidarity with all families, regardless of who they love. Sign your name to the Human Rights Campaign to say you will stand for marriage equality.

    What you can do today:

    Wear Red, & save the image below and make it your facebook profile picture:

    LGBT Youth Homelessness Infographic

    So…It’s been a while. My life has taken multiple twists and turns since I started this blog. I apologize for neglecting all of you! Alas, I am back and with fabulous news.

    Since last November, I started a new job that I love! I am working at a technology company called 2U, as an outreach coordinator for a masters in social work program at the University of Southern California. I’m thrilled about this position because it helps me merge my two passions: social justice and social media. I can write about many of the wonderful things I am passionate about: marginalized groups, mental health, community development, policy reform and so much more! So, it’s safe to say my life rocks.

    A great example of the ways I get to incorporate my passions into a beautiful social justice/social marketing marriage, here is a lovely masterpiece on LGBT youth homelessness. For more info, I highly recommend you go to this awesome resource on social work licensure.

    Preventing the Tragedy of LGBT Youth Homelessness

    Via Social Work License Map and MSW@USC

    Navigating identity through Family.

    Book Trailer for Far From The Tree by Andrew Solomon. I found this today on my news feed and I couldn’t help but spread the word.

    Identity has always fascinated me. In essence, Identity is at the core of how we have experienced life and choose to live our lives, how we view the world and who we are. Our perceptions, attitudes, beliefs and values are driven by our identity and I would argue that for most of us, identity is intrinsically connected to the presence (or absence) of familia. Family as a culture, as an ideology, and as a community.

    Our families–particularly for Latinos–have a huge impact on how we develop a sense of self. It can be the strongest affirmation that who you are becoming is a good person. But what happens if our families reject our identity? Isn’t that our basic fear, that our parents won’t accept and celebrate who we really are? We know that not a single person is 100% “normal”, but it’s how we choose to go through our lives that matters. What makes you different is also what makes you special, so you can let it shine and celebrate it or you can live in fear that no one will accept you for who you really are.

    “You sort of get what you get and you go from there. And its your choice: If you want to make the best of it, make the best of it. If you want to make the worst of it, throw yourself a pity party”- An Awesome Mom.

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