prefered venue of online support for mental illness short version

Hi everyone,

Thanks to those of you who have commented/ liked my previous post both on the blog and on the e-mail lists I’ve posted it to. I do realize that it was quite a long post! So will shorten it and hope it’s easier to read through quickly and provide thoughts.

My purpose: To do a little study on what is most popular in terms of venues for online support for those with mental illness. I’m purely discussing support venues for those who have any kinda mental illness in general with no specific population in that group singled out. venues and thoughts I’ve gotten so far.

E-mail lists:

Pros: more personal connections with members than forums/ facebook groups. Good for people who prefer doing things through e-mail as it can be more simple to use. More accessible to people that are blind particularly groups.io

Cons: is an older venue many people haven’t heard of it. Often not well moderated and easy to spam can be difficult if it’s a small group and one person is dominating or people there for chat purposes only. People may be reluctant to put their e-mail anywhere where they feel like people might find it. Might not know how to use or think the website feature of the e-mail list is safe/ will work. Worried about their e-mail box filling up with a high traffic list and might not know how/ want to create another e-mail address. Sometimes no one is on to talk at all.

Facebook groups:

Pros: lots of members on the groups to talk to. People who love and use facebook for everything have easy access to support.

Cons: difficult to admin/ moderate large groups such as the ones currently available. People often post things and there’s no way to prevent it, spam triggering photos ETC. A lot is up to facebook admins and so a lot is out of the group admins hands. Higher risk of viruses with the adds (I feel) than with forums or e e-mail lists.

Forums:

Pros: A wide variety of perspectives. Can block a person if you don’t want to hear what they have to say and still get support. Can be very well moderated as in psych central. Good interface for sighted people. If someone wants to say something/ ask a question that they feel shy about asking in a smaller group environment such as an e-mail list they can post to the forum and feel better about getting it out there to a more anonymous crowd.

Cons: Can feel less personal than an e-mail list with not knowing people’s names only screen names. Sometimes not very good accessibility for blind people. If you’re not an admin sometimes it’s hard to deal with rules/ policies or getting account shut off/ posts removed.

Youtube community:

Pros: get to see/ hear people say what they’re going through and respond in a more personal way as audio and video lend themselves to. Can also private message. There are many in the mental health community who have been youtubers for years and are quite welcoming. Even if someone doesn’t respond to something you’ve put out there it can stay up as long as you want, and so years later someone can find it and know they’re not alone by seeing and hearing the rawness and emotionality of what you’re going through.

Cons: with google linked with youtube it can be difficult to set up an account as you have to go through google and it’s a long process. The crazy adds. Often not getting a lot of responses in comments for videos. Not being able to do video responses anymore which cuts back on sense of community. No feedback is discouraging.

Hope this helps make it a more concise post. Basically looking for the most popular venue. Wanting to decide whether to close my general mental health list or not as almost all current members are members of my other active lists and so don’t need to be sitting on an inactive list as it’s not necessary. Would like feedback on where I could best use my talents in the different venues out there. Hoping thispost is easier to read and so people will feel more able to comment. Would appreciate more thoughts! Especially experiences on different venues and how you’ve liked getting and especially giving support there as an admin/ moderator ETC.

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