Mapping Mental Health Intermediaries: Vulnerable Publics and Platformed Support


  • Anthony McCosker Swinburne University of Technology
  • Really owan Wilken Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)


mental health, cultural intermediaries, affective publics, Facebook


This paper examines online support programs for people with mental health problems through a case study of the Australian non-profit mental health organisation beyondblue’s Facebook Page and dedicated support Forums. We draw on the concept of ‘vulnerable publics’ to account for the differences in modes of support between the Facebook Page and Forums. Digital methods and qualitative analysis help distinguish patterns of participation, connective action and platformed and human mediation between the two sites. This is part of a larger project to identify better models for using popular social media platforms like Facebook to facilitate community- based, peer mental health support. Our analysis identifies standout characteristics of the 'intermediaries' both human and non-human or platformed (Smith-Maguire and Matthews, 2012; Moor, 2012) as they affect the impact of peer-oriented online mental health support, in order to better understand what we are referring to as vulnerable networked publics.




How to Cite

McCosker, A., & Wilken, R. owan. (2017). Mapping Mental Health Intermediaries: Vulnerable Publics and Platformed Support. AoIR Selected Papers of Internet Research. Retrieved from



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