It's important to be able to talk about your experiences here - especially as there are few places in this world where we can be ourselves. Yet, at the same time, we are aware that sometimes going into detail can bring difficult thoughts/memories/feelings back (for the person writing, and the person reading the post who may relate to what is written).
As this is an online space, we're aware people may be posting/reading at a time/space where they have little support ... making it different from an in-person peer support group. Finding the balance between people feeling free to be honest and looking after oneself and the community isn't always easy. But we will try to navigate it together.
As a starting point, here are some things to think about:
We want you to feel able to say if you feel suicidal, like self-harming or to discuss difficult voices, visions or life experiences (e.g. the impact of trauma or experiences of discrimination).
When posting about topics that you find difficult, do think about what you feel OK to say (and if you say more than you feel comfortable with you can edit your post or contact a forum facilitator and ask them to edit/delete it.
In recognition that certain topics can be difficult for others to read, we ask that you put a 'Content Warning' in the title of your post and let people know what it's about before they read. This helps them make a choice about whether they feel OK to read or not.
For example, a content warning may look like: **CW: Self-harm, Domestic Violence**
Whilst some forum users might be used to content warnings, it may be new for many of us. It can also be hard to know when to use it (especially if what we are discussing is part of our daily lives and does not feel that intense). All we ask is that you do the best you can.
You will not be penalised for not putting a **CW: ....." on your post, a forum facilitator may just add one if they feel it's important to add it for others' safety. This isn't about sanctions or shaming people ... it's just about trying to find a balance that promotes the safety of our community.
How much sharing is OK?: Even with content warnings, just as in Hearing Voices Groups, there is a line around sharing difficult experiences that can be tricky to navigate. As a general rule, this isn't the space to share explicit, detailed and/or graphic details of abuse, self-harm, suicide attempts or violence. It's also not a place to share detailed methods or tips on harming yourself, restricting food etc. This is because on an online forum they are the type of posts most likely to have a harmful effect on the people reading them. However it is possible to talk about all of these topics without graphic descriptions - focusing on feelings, limiting detail etc.
Sometimes it’s hard to know whether a topic will be disturbing to other members … so if a forum facilitator does think that it’s too graphic they’ll step in and let you know. If necessary, they might delete messages or ask you to speak a little more generally. They may also send you details of places you can talk in more detail if you need them.
There is always a grey area - so please bear with us as facilitators, yourself and other members as we all find our way in this online space.