Depression chat rooms are a method of communication used by multiple people who are trying to find out how to overcome depression. Based on design, this medium provides a means of gaining and sharing information via online forums and instant messaging using real-time chats. The concept is nothing new and in fact, the first chat room was introduced by David Woolley and Doug Brown back in 1974. At that time, an online forum called Talkomatic was developed at the University of Illinois on which several different channels were available. However, as a new communication tool, only five people could be accommodated on each channel at the same time.
Recognizing the existence of opportunities, Alexander Trevor with CompuServe developed the first dedicated online service in 1980. Known as the CompuServe CB Simulator, this innovative design is considered by many to be responsible for chat rooms as we know them today. Of course, technology has advanced to the point that along with information, graphics, audio, video, and files can be shared, webcams used, and conversations with one or several people started.
Knowing the Rules of Behavior
The level of sophistication with today’s chat rooms is astonishing. There are thousands of sites on virtually any topic imaginable. While many chat rooms are beneficial, there are also potential dangers that should be understood. Especially when talking about depression chat rooms, following established protocol is mandatory. These sites are overseen by administrators capable of stopping a conversation or terminating a user’s access if violations occur.
Reputable depression chat rooms operate under very strict rules. Prior to being given access to the area of communication, an individual would be required to read and agree to the set rules and regulations of each site. Although this is common practice no matter the topic, when it comes to depression chat rooms maintaining a high level of integrity but also safety for users is the primary focus.
Some of the rules associated with depression chat rooms include the following:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- No offensive language can be used
- Promotion of negative topics, violence, and hate mail will never be tolerated
- Advertising and marketing of any kind is prohibited
- Typed messages cannot be in all CAPS as this is the same as shouting and therefore offensive
- Argumentative behavior is not acceptable
Benefits of Depression Chat Rooms
As stated, well organized, operated, and mediated depression chat rooms can be extremely beneficial to someone with this mental health disorder or concerned family members and friends. When used for the right purpose, benefits such as those listed below would be realized:
- Shared Information – Users gain access to a wealth of information on topics such as medications, conventional medical treatments, homeopathic remedies and solutions, qualified doctors, research and new developments, available support groups, methods of coping, and much more.
- Needed Support – Most people with depression feel alone and misunderstood. Having the opportunity to visit respected depression chat rooms provides a forum for getting support and encouragement needed to cope with this disorder but also seeking proper medical care.
- Risks and Side Effects of Medication – Today, there are many new medications being used to treat the various types of depression. While many are highly effective while producing little to no side effects, others have created significant problems. By gaining access to depression chat rooms, people with this disorder can share personal experiences with different medications.
- Question and Answer Sessions – In some cases, vital information pertaining to depression can be difficult to find. Depression chat rooms provide a great platform on which question and answer sessions about all aspects of this disorder can be discussed i.e. can depression be cured?
- Emotional Expression – While family members and friends try to understand what someone with depression deals with on a daily basis, full understanding is difficult without having personal experience. Sometimes, just having the chance to express emotions makes a person feel better.
- Availability – We also wanted to point out that depression chat rooms operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Because of that, a person having a difficult day or struggling with a certain situation would have a resource and outlet available when needed.
Potential Harm of Chat Rooms
In addition to benefits of using depression chat rooms, there are some potential risks. Learning about things perceived as being potentially harmful would make it possible to avoid specific depression chat rooms. Remember, chat rooms that have risks are generally those without an online administrator so when searching for possible sites to visit, we recommend finding those with strict rules and regulators/enforcers.
- Medical Help Alternative – Although a great deal of information is shared on depression chat rooms, at no time should this be used as an alternative to conventional medical or mental health care. If left untreated, there are certain types of depression that can lead to suicide and even homicide so the condition, as well as information must be taken seriously.
- Pranksters and Abusers – Again, monitored sites typically have fewer problems with pranksters and abusers but unfortunately, there are evil people who think it is fun or funny to act inappropriately or mischievously even in chat rooms designed to cover critical issues of this topic.
- Administrators – Although these professionals usually do an excellent job in keeping people in line, they are not medical or mental health professionals. Therefore, conversations that occur within depression chat rooms should never be led by site administrators.
- Mood Feeding – This term refers to people with depression that feed off the mood of other users. When conversations are upbeat and positive, someone struggling with depression feels supported, encouraged, and hopeful. However, when depression chat rooms consist of negative conversations, especially in relation to thoughts of suicide or homicide, a person with this mental health disorder could easily feed off that mood as well, causing symptoms to worsen.
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