Could A Depression Chat Room Be Right For You?
Updated July 13, 2019
Depression chat rooms are just one of the many tools that modern technology offers those suffering from mental health disorders. While they are helpful for many people, they do not come without a few concerns. Could a depression chat room be right for you? If you are suffering from depression, or care about someone,who is, find out everything you need to know about these resources here.
What Is A Depression Chatroom?
A depression chat is a virtual community where those affected by depression can communicate in real-time. It is open to those diagnosed with depression, those questioning whether the disorder might be affecting them, and to those who care for or love someone dealing with the condition.
Chat rooms for depression are typically found through a Google search. Simply using the search words, "depression," and "chat," is usually enough to bring up many pages which offer the service. Many chatrooms are free to use. However, most will ask you to sign up with your email and agree to certain terms and conditions before you can begin. The sign-up process usually prompts you to create a "screen name," or tag which identifies you in the chat room.
The purpose of a depression help chat is peer-support to those affected by depression. The goal is to make sure no one feels alone. The environment aims to make users feel safe, understood, and supported by offering a place where people can discuss symptoms, life experiences, and feelings. Those affected by depression who are experiencing a relapse of symptoms often find encouragement in this space too. Most users rely on the advice or resources from others in the room to work through their day-to-day struggles.
While a depression chat room is a place to find a sense of community, it should be used with the same amount of caution used in any other online forum. Here is a look at the pros and cons of onlinedepression chats, so you can decide if it is right for you.
Not all depression chat rooms are the same, but most come with similar benefits. When used correctly, a chatroom for depressed individuals can mean the difference between hopelessness and hope. Here are just a few positives when it comes to this resource.
One of the hardest symptoms of depression to live with is alack of motivation or willingness to stay active. For some, this manifests as an inability to keep a career or friendships. For these individuals, interaction with co-workers, neighbors, and family oftenbecomesoverwhelming(despite them not wanting to be alone). This is because depression can rob a person of the drive to pursue social opportunities and eventrick them into believing they are not wanted or cared about by others.
A depression chat room offers individuals affected by the social symptoms of depression a way to communicate with others without pressure. This form of interaction requires little physical effort (no getting showered or leaving the house),andthe user has complete control over when the interaction begins and ends.
Chat rooms do not force participation.One could sit and watch conversations for hours, only to chime in when they are ready to talk. Even during the darkest days of depression, chat rooms offer a place for someone in pain in to maintain their boundaries, while reaching out for just the right amount of help when they need it.
A depression online chat is also helpful at connecting people suffering from depression to those who can uniquely understand their situation. As empathetic as friends, family members, and therapists are, it is often difficult to communicate just what depression feels like, especially to someone who has never lived with it.
Depression chatroomsoffer a place where people can vent their feelings while knowing those reading on the other end understand with little explanation. The ability to communicate advice and resources to one another is helpful for those who are not able to find the information on their own, and it is often encouraging to hear the success of others in the group.
Depression chatrooms prove especially helpful to those who suspect they are experiencing depression, yet do not have a diagnosis. In these communities, these people find encouragement to pursue treatment options and hear about the experiences that might lie ahead of them. Likewise, those who are caring for someone with depression find they can learn more about their loved one's condition without forcing them to explain it. They are also able to connect with others who are caring for someone with depression and candiscuss the unique challenges of being in that support role.
It Is Anonymous
Those suffering from depression do not always do so visibly. A depression chat room is an ideal place for one to hide their identity but discuss their experience openly. There is no chance of a boss, family member, or friend finding anything unfavorable, and one can keep their experience with depression separate from the rest of their life if they want to. For many, this creates a safe space where one can be themselves and speak their peace without any repercussion.
It Is Easy
Anyone can find and use a depression chat room any time they want. Most chat rooms are available 24/7, and the sign-up process usually takes 5 minutes or less. These online communities give quick and easy access to people who care with little effort or planning needed.
As with all things online, the good also comes with the bad. Depression chat rooms, when they run well, are valuable tools when it comes to helping someone through difficult times. However, they are not for everyone. Keep in mind the cons too.
Bad Advice Happens
Although most people have the best intentions when it comes to chatting with others, there is likely no one with a degree in psychology or medicine moderating the conversations happening. This means that the information shared within the group is not always 100% correct or helpful.
It is important when using these groups to understand that what works for one person, may not work for another. Just because someone claims that a certain medication, coping mechanism, resource, or alternative form of treatment did or did not work for them, it does not mean that it has the same effect for everyone.
The advice from a depression chat room is only meant to guide and educate. Any changes to treatments must be approved by a doctor first. Never replace any advice from a doctor or therapist with advice found in a chatroom. Most importantly, a chat room should never be the only source of support for someone dealing with depression.
You Don't Know Who You're Talking To
While anonymity is great sometimes, it can also be damaging when there is no way to track who is on the other side of the computer screen. Not everyone is who they say they are online, and depression chat lines are not immune to people with predatory habits.
It is very easy for someone to put on a supportive mask while having bad intentions online. Occasionally depression chat rooms will fall victim to online "trolls" or people who try to bully or harass users. Sexual predators or those with abusive tendencies might try to find someone to connect with who they perceive as "weak" in this environment too. The best way to avoid these individuals online is never to give out private information, use private chat features wisely, and only take part in moderated chat sessions.
They Don't Always Help
Although chatrooms are generally places of encouragement and support, when enough people affected by the disorder are interacting, it is easy to get caught up in negativity. It is important to know when to step away from a chatroom for depression. If the environment seems to make symptoms worse or has any unwanted effect on a user's mental health, it is time to log off.
Likewise, it is important to avoid becoming a caregiver for someone in the virtual community. There is a difference between offering someone advice and support and becoming a sole resource for them. Everyone in the community is responsible for pursuing their own mental health treatment plan, and no one should at any time, feel an obligation to care for someone else.
If you think that a depression chat room is right for you, remember the following advice:
Depression Chat Room Tips
- Try a few different rooms to find one you like best.
- Choose a screen name which does not reveal any personal details about you (no birthdays,real names or location).
- Never disclose personal information (including financial or banking information) to someone you meet in a chatroom.
- Do verify all advice received with a medical professional.
- Only use moderated chat rooms.
- Follow all the rules of the chat room and report anyone who does not
- Never rely on a chatroom alone. Take advantage of other online support like virtual licensed mental health professionals.
- Do reach out to depression hotline chat resources like the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline if you are in a crisis.
Depression chat rooms are amazing resources for those who lack support or who want a place to discuss their experience without feeling pressured to do so. They can also be difficult places for people who use them as their sole support system when dealing with mental health concerns. Like any online forum, it is important to protect one's physical and mental health in a chat room environment. Being aware of the good and bad of such a tool is just one way to ensure success. A depression chat room is not always right for everyone, but anyone can use them at any time.
If you are having thoughts of harming yourself or others, immediately contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.