Helping Each Other
We thought it would be useful to give people some advice around providing help for each other.
The remarkable support you give each other is incredibly important for many people and we want to make sure it's done in a way that makes you feel safe
What people do on The Mix to help each other is really important and allows everyone to share what they are going through and see if each others' experiences can help. The value of our community services is the remarkable support you give each other. It's incredibly important for many people and we want to make sure it's done in a way that helps you and helps make you feel safe at the same time.
However it's also really important to bear in mind that when someone is going through difficult issues that it can mean that some of things said and done can be difficult to hear and respond to. They can also put you in a place that you might find hard to cope with.
We believe that it's important that support is provided in an open, moderated and supportive environment. This provides people who are helping each other with support but avoids the relationship between people becoming too challenging or difficult to handle.
We honestly believe that people should be open about what they are going through - that's why these boards and chat, whilst anonymous, are public. People shouldn't feel they are ever in a situation where they need to hide things or are put in a place where they are dealing with other people's problems without any help for how they are feeling themselves.
Trying to support someone presenting with difficult emotions and problems is too much for anyone to bear on their own.
Now we can't and wouldn't want to stop people becoming friends and contacting each other outside of these boards. But if you do that please bear in mind what it means. Services like ours and the Samaritans moderate and support the people who take part. They do this because trying to support someone presenting with difficult emotions and problems is too much for anyone to bear on their own.
Helping others can be a really positive and empowering thing. But supporting someone else doesn't make you responsible for what they choose to do. At its most extreme and damaging, people can become so tied into another's problems that they may start to feel they are responsible for someone else. You aren't. And we firmly believe it's through empowerment and personal responsibility, with the support of services, friends, family and others, that people can make changes in their own lives. But we honestly believe that forming pacts around behaviour or having someone make you responsible for what they do doesn't lead to a person making a change in their own life, it can often be a way to avoid making changes.
We think the boards and our chats do provide support for people with problems and those helping them. This is through each others' experiences and by sharing the load around overwhelming topics. But if people want to provide support in private, through services like Skype or Facebook, then it's important to understand that you are removing yourself from a supported environment and putting yourself in a situation that no service providing help around challenging issues would ever do.
If you feel that you're in a situation that isn't helpful for you, or someone else you're trying to help, then you should encourage that person to use the boards or phone or contact other services
It is a personal choice, but bear in mind that providing 1-2-1 help for a person online can mean that the person you are trying to help is going to look for a solution for their problems through you and not access services specifically intended to help in distressing situations (such as the boards or the Samaritans). You can still provide personal help and advice through the boards, but it means you're doing it in a place where other people can chip in to help and where you don't feel you're isolated.
If you feel that you're in a situation that isn't helpful for you, or someone else you're trying to help, then you should encourage that person to use the boards or phone or contact other services. You shouldn't feel it's your responsibility to deal with what is going on and you shouldn't ever feel you can't speak out about what is happening.
So please bear in mind what it means if you decide to support people outside of our services. You should feel you can be open and helpful here, you shouldn't ever feel anything someone else does is your fault.
Originally written by Jim V
Questions/suggestions/corrections? Get in touch!
We're Aife & Mike - the staff team here at The Mix. We don't provide support via this account, but if you have any questions about the boards or need a hand finding your way around, feel free to drop us a message. Alternatively, you can head over to the Help Desk forum.