A safe place e-mail list: https://groups.io/org/groupsio/asafeplaceHello everyone,
I wanted to let you all know that I’ve just created a new e-mail list. I’ve been running e-mail lists for two years now. I started blind mental health, for anyone who’s blind and has a mental illness, in 2012. In fact tomorrow is our second birthday yay!!
I never knew before starting this list the need out there for a safe place for those with blindness/ visual impairment and mental illness to feel that they aren’t alone. The lack of support for our specific population is truly sad. I’m going to save a detailed discussion of that list and issues around people who are blind and have mental illness for another post.
Anyway what brought my attention to the lack of safe supportive groups online for mental illness, at least in my opinion was facebook. Facebook has a huge overwhelming selection of support groups for everything under the sun. There are too many groups to count for people with mental illness. I think this is a wonderful thing and believe that you can’t have too much support when dealing with mental illness. However it disturbs me when these groups aren’t well moderated. I think sometimes it’s the nature of the size of the group. A couple I’ve joined have thousands of members. Even if there were several admins no one can keep track of that many people. I’ve also been in groups where the admin/s are just missing in action and the members are left to their own devices with no boundaries or oversight from the group owner/ moderators who ideally should work as a team to monitor the daily progress of the group and resolve any issues that come up. Which is my second point. These groups seem full with a huge amount of drama. People can really be quite judgmental and I’m not sure if it’s just the fact of being behind a computer screen so they think they can say anything and it doesn’t matter. That’s a theory my good friend Robert has about facebook/ youtube comments. I think it’s even harder due to people with mental illness honestly often having a lot of problems relating well to others. I put myself in this category at times. Due to depression, anxiety, PTSD issues around relationships ETC. It can be hard in a face to face situation, much less online to get your point across in a healthy way. However I often see in these groups a lot of members siding against one another and it not being a welcoming and truly friendly environment. And for whatever reasons again I think due to the size of some of these groups it’s hard to control. And I understand that everyone in the group including admins is going through ups and downs. That’s why I learned as an owner that having at least one other moderator if not a couple more who have their own individual skills and perspectives to bring to the table is important.
Lastly I think there are some other things in these groups allowed to go on that are less than healing. For example, many people for whatever reason, post self-harm pictures. This is my first encounter with this kinda thing and when I saw a message from admin saying please don’t post self harm pictures I was like what the hell? Why would anyone do that. A couple days later saw a post that said “I use rubber bands on my arms here are my scars.” (which put a dent in the rubber bands being a helpful sub for SI theory) Not only that but I was horrified that someone would post this and see it as healing for themselves or others! And I was glad to be blind so as not to see the picture!
I don’t see this or any other posting of photos of triggering material to be helpful at all. Lastly and again I think it’s due to the overwhelming nature of these groups at least for me, it’s very hard to feel included. I know on my lists I always try to give a lot of support to new members with everyone doing intros and helping new members feel safe. It’s often hard, again on the subject of having trouble relating to others, for people with social anxiety or other issues to start relationships. So often even with best efforts of others people still don’t feel included because they just can’t initiate connections or respond to others. On these groups it seems like the people that know each other post away. My posts of intros which I did a few times because I thought there was something wrong with facebook, would end up way down the list within an hour. And never got any response. Or maybe like one or two comments as opposed to a huge amount on other members posts that know everyone. I’ve seen other new members posts saying this as well.
And so we’re clear I’m not bashing all facebook groups. Or facebook. Like I said I think that everyone needs all the support possible. And I’m just someone who has never really taken to facebook for groups as I really like using e-mail lists. It’s just easier for me with a screen reader and just also I don’t know easier. I’m on e-mail all the time. For groups on facebook I’d have to keep going to the site and scrolling through and with so many different threads it’s really confusing. I’ve found similar issues with psych central, which is the only other forum website I’ve been on with a lot of drama but they do have admins that are pretty good. Their issue actually is a few people thinking they have all the answers for everyone else just because they claim they’re all better from their mental illness which was annoying.
Anyway so tonight I created “a safe place.” It’s on groups.io and a very good platform. Again it’s for anyone with any mental illness from late (or mature teens) on up. It’s well moderated and drama free. We’ll discuss the daily lives of everyone and their struggles, issues with personal relationships, work/school, therapy meds etc. Also encourage each other’s hobbies and activities that are healing. I’ll have the list info in my resources section as well as on this post. If interested please subscribe, comment here for questions/ ideas, and share with others.
A safe place group page: