(Original post by Helenia)
This is a response to the concerns that some members have raised about the Depression Society in recent weeks, and also to feedback on the survey that took place slightly longer ago. We'd like to thank all members who have been in touch with us on either of these counts. There are a number of issues to address, in no particular order: -
1) The name and classification of the Depression Society
Recently we have received some comments about posts in DepSoc which are not about depression but are instead about other mental illnesses such as psychosis, OCD, personality disorder etc. We feel that as these illnesses often overlap and people's symptoms change over time, it would not be suitable to split up these topics and have particular threads for each mental illness. It is important that DepSoc is a place where people feel welcomed and supported, not shunned because they have the wrong "label" or because they are not "depressed enough" (this is a worrying piece of feedback we received from someone afraid to post there). We therefore plan to rename the society the Mental Health Support Society and maintain that everyone who wants to talk and get support for mental illness should be welcome here. We do realise, though, that this name is not very catchy, so if any of you have any better ideas, please let us know via AAHRM!
2) Moderation coverage of the Depression Society
This is something that we are aware has been a problem lately as we have lost some area moderators and other mods are very busy, so some concerning posts have been left for longer than they ought to do. The need for more mod coverage was raised in the survey. We are addressing this by recruiting a new Mental Health forum mod
and also by encouraging passing supermods to flag up any problems that they come across. Please continue to use post reports and AAHRM for any concerns.
3) Suicide and self-harm posts
This has been the toughest area for us to decide upon and also generated lots of varied opinions from the survey, so thanks to those who took part! We appreciate that a lot of you want to be able to talk about suicidal feelings or self-harming, but we have made the difficult decision that any discussion of suicide or self-harm is still not allowed, whether in spoilers or not. Members have said that spoilers are not always necessarily helpful, and after a lot of discussion we just found it impossible to know how to draw a line on what level/detail of discussion was permitted and what was "too much." From a corporate point of view, the TSR owners have also said that they back this decision in the best interests of the site, so we have to stick to what they think! Therefore, if other members are posting anything
about suicide or self-harm, please report it to us so we can deal with it ASAP. We appreciate that there are other forums out there which allow this sort of discussion, but we don't feel that we could take responsibility for policing it on TSR. We plan to "take over" the first post of all future Depression/Mental Health Support Society threads with a reminder of these rules.
4) Members who post multiple times about suicide/self-harm
Currently, any member who posts a message about either of these things has their post removed/edited, and receives a PM from a mod to direct them to sources of help.
However, there are some occasions when a member has been sent several PMs and still continues to post about self-harm/suicide. While we don't want to punish people for feeling this low, we feel that "time out" from a potentially triggering forum may well be beneficial in these circumstances, as well as reducing distress to other members who read these posts, and so we will be giving temporary local bans in this situation.
5) Posts regarding medical advice
We appreciate that some of you have had a tough time with mental healthcare, that doctors are not always right, particularly when it comes to mental illness, and that some drugs suit some people better than others. However, we have seen posts where members have been told that their doctors are wrong, and more concerningly, that they should stop taking their medication. This is absolutely NOT permitted. Encouraging members to seek a second opinion, or giving them other options, is fine, but encouraging people to disengage with healthcare is not. Posts will be removed and members will be warned.
We know that not all of this is going to be popular with everyone, but we have tried our best to respect the views of those who have contributed, even if we couldn't agree with all of your suggestions, and we feel that all of the above changes are the best way to keep DepSoc a healthy and supportive place. If you have any questions, please contact us via AAHRM.