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Depression Chat Rooms: All You Need To Know Before You Join One

Depression Chat Rooms: All You Need To Know Before You Join OneUpdated on February 15, 2021 | Published on September 25, 2019
Reviewed by Dr. Nereida Gonzalez-Berrios, MD, Certified Psychiatrist

Online/Live Depression Chat Rooms

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Depression is already enough mentally crippling, and when you don’t find anyone to share the negative thoughts that are paralyzing your clear vision, it kills you from within. That’s when Depression Chat rooms appear as a life-savior.

Unfortunately, more than 300 million people across the globe are affected by some kind of depression and yet seem to deny their condition due to the stigma of “insanity” associated with it.

They refuse to “talk it out” in fear of being judged, and this continuous suppression leads to severity of the situation and, in some cases, even suicide.

Some organizations across the globe identified this fear and made communities with supportive and like-minded people in the form of depression chat rooms. The anonymity and the 24*7 availability was so successful that people are now considering these chat rooms as the modern form of “Talk therapy.”

NOTE: Important!
If you are feeling suicidal right now and are in the state of self-harm, immediately call for help from your doctor, therapist, expert, or just dial a suicidal hotline. Contact your National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on the basis of where you are currently residing. You can find the list here.

However, if you are in the States, 911 is the national emergency number, and you can call on 1-800-273-8255 for any kind of suicidal crisis.

Depression Chat Rooms – What are They?

SUMMARY
Online Communities or online support groups that help people suffering from depression to convey their thoughts usually, on text, are called Depression chat rooms.

Depression is a very common disorder, but people often fail to identify it, which aggravates the impact and triggers other mental health issues like bipolar disorder, unipolar depression, or even persistent depressive disorder.

Most people fear being face-to-face with a professional because they don’t want to appear “weak” to the world. Some others are afraid of the antidepressant drugs, and the side effects that come along with it, and a few others don’t wish to experience intensive psychotherapy. There’s also a group of people who don’t wish to disclose their problems due to the known faces.

Depression chat rooms are the best alternative for all these people. These are online chat forums where people dealing with depression can chat with volunteers who help you convey your feelings. They listen to you non-judgmentally, offer expert help, provide advice, and also warn you when it’s time to seek professional help.

Long story short, it is a kind of group therapy that gives you a comfortable environment to TALK!

But,

Are Depression Chat rooms a Safe alternative?

Yes. At least, in theory, depression chat rooms are one of the safest alternatives. You don’t even have to discuss your symptoms if you don’t want to – you can simply read and comprehend other people’s experiences, feelings, or even symptoms.

If you are hesitant to visit a professional, for whatever reason, depression forums or chat rooms are your best bet rather than just shrugging off your profound symptoms.

And,

Is there any research for it?

To begin with, let me tell you, research reveals that all forms of support group therapy, whether online or in-person have a beneficial effect on people suffering from depression and anxiety.

Apart from that, here are some more researches that define the effectiveness of depression chat rooms:

1. A study from the year 1988 revealed that the hospitalization rate of manic depressives dropped from 82 percent to 33 percent after group therapy.

2. The same study also showed that among all the people suffering from mental illness who received group therapy, only 10% of them had to be re-hospitalized.

3. National Institutes of Health survey results revealed that peer support helped bring the successful treatment rate up to 95% as compared to other cognitive behavioral therapy.

4. A 2012 study revealed that online chat in a depression chat room also showed significant benefits as against the popular belief that online support doesn’t have full benefit as an in-person therapy group.

Except for these, there are so many other studies that vouch for depression support rooms’ noteworthy results.

Now that you know the basic definition, let me answer a few very common questions. Beginning with –

Depression Chat Rooms: All You Need To Know Before You Join One
Depression Chat Rooms: All You Need To Know Before You Join One

When to join a depression chat room?

There can definitely be “sad” moods, but a wave of depression doesn’t trigger suicidal thoughts. You need to understand the severity of your depression and identify when it’s time to reach out for help.

Majority of the victims who signed up for membership in these depression chat rooms experienced the following symptoms:

1.      Major depression for four days in a row – that is the threshold for seeking expert help.

2.      Constantly experiencing suicidal or self-harm thoughts.

3.      Unexpected behavioral or lifestyle changes.

4.      Avoiding social gatherings or any other social events.

5.      Decreased interest in things that the victim enjoyed earlier

6.      Disturbed or no sleep or oversleeping.

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, it’s time you should dig deep and find out the core reason for your depression. You can start by reading some online resources and then read some chats on a depression chat room or support group.

Why join a depression chat room?

Depression chat rooms give you the comfort to discuss your concern or symptoms independently. The most important benefit of a depression chat room is the leisure of anonymity.

You don’t necessarily have to reveal your identity or any other personal information if you are not comfortable sharing. Other than that, we have discussed a few benefits in detail below.

What to expect from Depression chat rooms?

Contrary to popular belief, online depression chat forums do not require filling up any form with personal information or medical history. Instead, it helps create a comfortable environment where you can discuss all your thoughts without any fear of judgment.

You also don’t have to call and discuss your feelings if you don’t feel comfortable, you can just type it out. The volunteers on the other side, (who are usually licensed therapists and counselors), give you an objective opinion based on what you type.

What to expect from a depression chat room agent?

When you log in to these forums and complain about the depressing and suicidal thoughts or admit to your discomfort for appearing in social environments – the experts consider all the factors before making a recommendation.

So, to help you effectively, the chat room agents or volunteers will ask you the following:

  • How often do you get self-harm thoughts?
  •  What is your emotional state?
  • How severe is your depression or hypomania?
  • What are your thoughts currently?
  • What kind of support do you have from family/friends?

They ask these questions to understand the severity of your situation and whether you are in need of immediate care. If the agent or volunteer identifies that you are just seconds away from harming yourself, he/she will summon emergency personnel immediately.

NOTE
If you are in control and you are chatting, it’s wise to let the person on the other side know. This will inform them that you are not feeling suicidal and are here to discuss your depression in general and ways to curb it.

Now, when the counselor understands that the situation is under control and you are stable enough to discuss your situation rationally, he/she will spend time bonding with you. They will identify your symptoms, suggest coping strategies, and even tell you a withdrawal plan in extreme situations.

Sometimes, agents also ask for your contact information, but you shouldn’t be alarmed or consider this a violation of privacy. This is a contingency plan in case you got disconnected. Depression can make you feel abandoned when suddenly the other party is gone missing in between an intensive conversation.

NOTE
This is an optional feature and will be availed only after your confirmation. The primary benefit of most mental health support groups is that they can’t force you to share any personal information.

How to join the right online depression chat room?

There are a number of depression chat rooms out there, but it might be hard to choose which one to join. The threat of identity theft and cybercrime is also a fear that often holds people back from joining a chat room online to seek peer support. Here are a few pointers to look for to determine if the chat room is a well- run, safe place:

  • Look for an administrator/ moderator. If there is a person to moderate the chat and keep a check on the way members are interacting with one another, the chat room is good enough to join.
  • Check if an expert therapist is involved or not. Now, chat rooms that do not invite experts are not necessarily wrong. However, the chat room should clearly state if there is or isn’t an expert available.
  • There must be a set of rules to abide by that refrain from encouraging sexual, mental, or any other sort of abuse. Also, the chat room must preferably have a zero-tolerance policy towards such incidences.

After answering all the questions, it’s time to clear some air about depression chat rooms run by users and depression hotline chat service.

Depression chat rooms run by Users vs. Depression hotline Chat Service

Talking with other people suffering from the same condition as you is an extremely beneficial practice. It is because it makes you feel that you are not alone, and you can share ideas, discuss similar experiences, and even support each other.

However, there’s a risk factor involved in peer-to-peer support because of various things like:

1. Unfiltered chat among “friends” can quickly go sideways where drugs, self-harm, and other dangerous activities are promoted without any medical supervision.

2. Depression acts differently in different people. Likewise, what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for another.

3. A friend’s idea will never be as effective as a medically-approved opinion by an expert. Medical advice is given after full consideration of your unique situation and various other factors.

4. Professional guides can take you to a place of stability, unlike the advice shared by other members in the group.

Thus, for better results, it’s best to take advice from a psychiatrist, counselor, or a licensed therapist who has all the necessary information that is required to suggest the best course of action. Remember, your medical and family history can affect your recovery plan in a significant manner.

So, now –

What Depression chat rooms you must join?

There are plenty of depression chat rooms available online, but not all are as effective as they proclaim.

To relieve you from the struggle of finding an authoritative chat room, we have enlisted a few below that have a good track record of benefitting people worldwide.  

1. Depression Bipolar Support Alliance

DBPA or Depression Bipolar Support Alliance is a support group for people suffering from depression and bipolar disorder. This support group offers peer support, i.e., people share their real-time experiences, coping strategies, and also teach each other how to enjoy life yet again.

2. Depression chat rooms

Depression chat rooms.org provides a common platform for mental health patients primarily suffering from depression or anxiety. They also welcome victims of bipolar disorder or even of eating disorders. The most important benefits of depression chat rooms is that their website is independent, free and non-profit.

NOTE
Only chat rooms on this site are moderated by volunteers, not forums.

3. Depression Sanctuary

Depression Sanctuary is another organization offering support to people suffering from depression. It is a non-profit forum that requires membership for participation, but it is completely free to join. To provide a safe and moderated platform, you need to follow certain rules in the chat rooms.

4. HealthUnlocked

HealthUnlocked is another chat room that offers support to people suffering from anxiety and depression. It is run in partnership with the ADAA or Anxiety & Depression Association of America. It is a non-profit organization and also invites people with other disorders like OCD, PTSD, and others.

5. Depression Forums

Depression forums or depressionforums.org hosts more than 70,000 members. They are moderated forums and the members present here discuss various topics around mental health. Right from anxiety to depression symptoms, to coping strategies, medication, and even therapy, there are so many things that are discussed in these forums.

6. Depression Understood

The chat rooms at depression are always open and available. They run with a prime motive to provide a relaxed and supportive environment where the people suffering can discuss their concerns independently.  

7. BetterHelp

The world’s largest online therapy website, BetterHelp has helped over 40,000 people so far. They help you connect to a licensed therapist and allow you to chat with them in a private chat room via email or via phone or computer. You are free to discuss all your concerns and seek objective opinions from the experts.

8.  IMAlive

There is a group of people who call a crisis line but, second-judging themselves, hang up as soon as a human voice answers. IMAlive is an instant messaging service for that 30% of people who do this. The service is specially designed for people who are shy about phone conversations and will instead reply to a chat service.

9. Suicide Prevention Lifeline Chat

This is a life savior for all the victims in times of crisis. The national suicide prevention chat connects individuals and offers emotional support to people who are on edge. It is available 24/7 all across the United States. Along with crisis counseling, it also offers helpful resources to help you calm down.

10. Worldwide Crisis Lines – Wikipedia

People are suffering from depression worldwide, and there are instances when you are at the edge. Thus, it’s wise to keep Wikipedia’s updated list of crisis phone lines handy.

You can find it here.

We have already discussed a quick glimpse of why you must join a depression chat room, here are a few benefits discussed in detail.

Benefits of depression chat room

In comparison to other social media platforms, depression chat rooms provide you a comfortable environment that allows you to express your thoughts fearlessly.

But that’s not it. It offers a lot of other benefits, including:

1. Anonymity makes you less vulnerable

Mental health patients are extremely hesitant in discussing their problems especially because of the stigma attached to it. Depression chat rooms allow you to chat with experts or even peers without revealing your identity. However, for an objective opinion and uninterrupted support, some chat rooms might ask for personal information, but that is completely optional.

2. You are not afraid of being judged

The volunteers, moderators, or even the experts at these chat rooms are specifically trained to not judge you for your concerns. This is more common among men than in women. People question their masculinity just because they have been suffering from a tough time mentally. However, in these chat rooms, even the members listen to you without any preconceived notions.

3. 24/7 availability gives you an “always available” support

Depression often pushes you to the edge and in these times of crisis, you need someone to pull you back. To give you the shoulder, most of these depression chat rooms are open 24*7. This anytime-and-everytime accessibility gives you someone to count on or run to, when you just can’t take it anymore.  

4. Conversations with like-minded people boosts confidence

The negative thoughts in your head often make you feel like you are alone in the world. These chat rooms tell you that you are not. You see that there are so many people suffering from the same condition as yours, which gives you a sense of belongingness. Now since you are associated with a few like-minded people, you no more feel frustrated in the real world.   

5. Being heard make you feel wanted

In the real world, when loud people get more attention, you find your voice suppressed. The volunteers in these chat rooms ensure that all of your thoughts are heard so that even shy people can voice their opinions. Plus, depressive patients feel better when they can “talk” to people about it without any fear.

6. You make healthier lifestyle choices

People who love to talk can vouch for the fact that interesting conversations can make even a boring job fun. Since these forums allow you to express and motivate you to make healthier life choices, you start to develop new hobbies. The community has helped millions in taking up numerous physical activities that have helped them get rid of depression.

7. Low or no costs makes it accessible for one and all

Most of these chat rooms are non-profit and free. This gives wider accessibility, as financial limitations will not be a problem. The no-cost doesn’t mean that they are not authentic. Infact, you will find so many renowned experts offering therapy on these platforms. Apart from that, these chatrooms also have a lot of other features keeping in mind the concerns of the victims.

8. No-bias environment promotes equality

All of these chatrooms are free of all the biases – sex, religion, caste, creed, color, status, financial income, or any other thing that can classify people. This bias-free environment is assured by keeping all the members anonymous unless chosen otherwise by the members themselves.

9. Documentation of the conversation enhances transparency

All your conversations with the volunteers are documented. You can come back to it whenever you feel your identity is threatened. This not only promotes transparency but also allows you to be at ease. However, don’t share any personal information in these chat forums until you completely trust the person on the other side.

10. Expert advice from around the globe

For people who are afraid to pay a face-to-face visit to a psychiatrist or a therapist or don’t want to discuss their symptoms on call, these chat forums are the perfect alternative to seek help. They connect you to trained experts or specialists who give you professional advice on the basis of your symptoms and other factors.

Now that you know the benefits, here are some risks that you must know. Remember, nothing in this world is free of cons.

Risks of depression chat room 

Depression chat rooms are driven by the sole motive to help people and save lives. But there are still certain cons to it, including:

1. It’s not a viable replacement for a professional.

Mental health support groups definitely have a list of benefits to offer and is also a great place to connect with others experiencing similar conditions; it still cannot replace a professional opinion.

NOTE
It’s best to consult an expert, i.e., a therapist, counselor, psychiatrist, or a mental health practitioner if you are experiencing severe depression.

2. Online predators waiting to take advantage of your vulnerability

Yes, they exist. There are many fake chat forums that exist just to make you feel ashamed or bad about your depression. If you come across one of those, don’t hesitate to block or report the person of the moderator.

3. Not everyone present online has good intentions

Since online chat forums don’t allow you to see the faces on the other side, you can never know the intention or even credibility of the other side. Thus, you need to be extremely careful while joining these chat rooms and look up their viability on the internet.

In the end, just remember,

You are not alone!

Yes. You are not. There are so many like you suffering from similar experiences, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

Remember, your depression doesn’t define you. Your personality does. Your hobbies, likes, dislikes, and all the other things about you define you.

After all, there’s a reason there’s just one of each one of us.

You are you. I am I. He is he. And every one of us hasṣ our own war.

There’s no place like depression chat rooms that can reflect this fact more vividly.