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Messageboard Chat Room
MESSAGEBOARD & CHAT ROOM
VISITOR GUIDELINES

depressioNet is the only Australian Internet site to provide online communication forums with 24 hour peer support and moderation for people living with depression. We do this to help break down the isolation for 'people like us' - Australians living with depression.

One place can not be all things to all people. Please remember that this is not a mental health service and that people here are not healthcare professionals. These forums are not to be used to replace the professional help or the support we all need in our real world, but to supplement these.

When registering to use the messageboard and chat you agree to abide by these guidelines.
Abiding by our guidelines at all times is essential to ensure that the depressioNet provides a safe and supportive environment for us to give and receive encouragement along the road to recovery.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the use of the messageboard or chat room
or another member's behaviour, please let us know by email to: team@depressionet.com.au
depressioNet reserves the right to withdraw or restrict access by any member at any time.

DEPRESSIONET
About Our Guidelines
Censorship
Your First Visit!
One Place at a Time
Nicknames
Welcoming New People
Poetry and Writing
Musical Lyrics and Other Copyrighted Material
Remember to 'Log Out'
Beyond depressioNet
The depressioNet Team
'Leaving' depressioNet

INAPPROPRIATE USE
Suicide & Self Harm
Relying On Other Visitors
Giving Advice
Factual Information
Medication And Treatments
Posting Articles
Advertising & Research
Seeking Personal Relationships

"ETIQUETTE"
Swearing
Opinions
Humor And Sarcasm
Be Careful what you say
Personal Contact Details
Handling Grievances

About Our Guidelines
These guidelines have been developed over 18 months since our chat and messageboard first opened and are the result of much learning and experience. They are designed to ensure that the messageboard and chat are safe places for people living with depression and related conditions and take into account the particular needs and issues that our illness brings.

Agreeing to abide by these guidelines and our terms and conditions of use is mandatory and essential to our ability to continue to 'be here' for us all.

 

Censorship

Censorship is alive and well at depressioNet!
Our first priority in everything we do is the people that depressioNet.com.au is created for - people like us living with depression and associated conditions and our families & friends.
The messageboard is regularly checked to ensure "pesky posters" have no chance to graffiti our board and that everyone uses the messageboard appropriately.

When we are in a very emotional state, it is easy to inadvertently post a message that may need modifying to bring it within the guidelines. If this happens one of the volunteer Visitor Care Team will email you to let you know and include a copy of the post so that you can modify it and re-post or let you know how they have edited it. If ever you are concerned regarding the removal or editing of a post please email to either:

team@depressionet.com.au or admin@depressionet.com.au.

From time to time you may see something on the messageboard that varies from our guidelines as given here. depressioNet.com.au is about people and our focus at all times will be more on the people than it is on enforcing inflexible rules.

Yes, we could be strict and impersonal and never make exceptions, however this would make depressioNet just another Internet site. What makes it special is the care and understanding of both the dNet team and our visitors.
Remember that we often have more information about a person or situation than will be obvious to other visitors, and we do our best to care for all.

Occasionally we do miss messages that may need attention so please let us know if there is ever anything that concerns you.

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Your First Visit to Chat
Every visitor to depressioNet is a 'new' visitor at some time and we all know how strange it can be. The following are a few hints to make it a bit easier.

1. When you enter the chat, say Hello and let the people in there know that this is your first time. If you have never used a chat room before, let them know that too. This will help them to help you feel comfortable.

2. There are a few 'shortcuts' that people use in chat rooms to help communicate better and to save typing. These can be very strange at first!   If you don't understand something, just ask - someone will be happy to explain.   We also have a Chat Help page.

3. Speak up! About anything. Most of the people who are in the chat are very willing and happy to talk with you about anything you would like to. However sometimes the conversation is moving quickly or people just don't think to ask. Don't be frightened to speak up. Let people know if you have a question or want to talk about something.

4. Often it can be hard to follow a conversation when there are a lot of people in one room. Ask someone to join you in another room where things are quieter and you can go more slowly.

5. Our chat room has a 'contact dNet Team' button. When you press this it sends an email to a member of our volunteer team - all of who were new visitors to depressioNet once themselves. Someone will come in and help you with whatever you need. Even if it is just someone to lean on to help get you started.

If you have any questions at any time, please email us at team@depressioNet.com.au.

One Place At A Time
We ask that while you are using the depressioNet chat room you do not use other online communication forums at the same time. Similarly, if the phone rings and you will be away from the chat for a while, please remember to say goodbye and logout while you are on the phone.

Talking in another chat room, on MSN, etc or on the phone means that you are not able to respond to the conversation in the chat room. It can cause confusion when you are in the chat and your name appears there yet you don't respond when someone 'speaks' to you.

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Use One Nickname Only
Your 'nickname' is the name that you use on the depressioNet messageboard and in the chat room. This is the name you come to be known by.

Each visitor may register one nickname only.   If you wish to change your nickname or to register a second nickname for any reason, you must let us know.   In the past, people using more than one nickname has caused confusion and mistrust.

Welcoming New Visitors
When someone new enters the chat, particularly the 'Welcome Room,' please take a moment to say 'Hello'. This may be their first visit to the depressioNet chat and they may be feeling very nervous and unsure.

If you are able to take some time to help new people feel at home and welcome them, that is great. Most of us remember those first people we met in chat for a long time and really appreciate their thoughtfulness.

However, there are times when we are just not able to welcome new people because of 'where we are at' ourselves. There is no need to feel guilty.
We do ask that if you are not able to welcome new people and give them a little extra care and attention, that you do not stay in the Welcome Room, but move into one of the other rooms. If the other rooms are all empty, ask someone else from the Welcome Room to join you.

If there is no one 'looking after' a new person and you do not feel up to it yourself, please use the 'Contact dNet Team' button to ask one of the team here at depressioNet to come in and spend some time making them feel welcome until they find their feet. When the team member arrives just let them know that this person is new and needs some TLC.

Please do not make others feel that they 'should' be welcoming new people. depressioNet is here for you, and we don't want anyone to feel pressure to do something they are not feeling up to. The Team are here to help with this.

Similarly when someone new posts to the messageboard. Wherever you can, and feel it is appropriate, please take time to make them feel welcome.

Sometimes people enter a chat room and then leave without saying anything. There can be many reasons for this and is usually because people are just not ready to talk in a chat room. It is important not to take it personally.

Depression is an illness that can make us hypersensitive and more prone to paranoia than when we are well. When people enter then leave, sometimes we feel that this is because we are there! While we may know this isn't true, it does help if you say hello and just type a quick explanation for why you are leaving.

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Poetry and other personal writing
The number of postings on the messageboard grows steadily and so posts are often buried deep within a week or so!

If you post poetry or other personal written contributions to the messageboard they will be removed and you will be asked if you would like them included on the site in the 'your contributions' section of depressioNet, please send it to:

contributions@depressioNet.com.au or gen@depressionet.com.au.
Gen is happy to add as many contributions as you would like, so send them on in!

Musical Lyrics and Other Copyrighted Material
Often we can hear a song or read something that is poignant that we would like to share with others. It is important that we consider the copyright's attached to others work and that we don't re-produce these things within depressioNet.
If you would like to share the lyrics of a song or a section of a book that you found helpful please list the title and the artist/author and what it means for you and how it has helped you, rather than the copying it in its entirity within the boards.

Remember to 'Log Out'
Remember to always 'Log Out' of the messageboard and chat when you are not using them.   This is for your safety and privacy as well as that of others visitors. Other people in chat may think you are still in chat, talk to you, and wonder why you are not responding.
It also reduces the load on the depressioNet servers.

Please do not use the depressioNet chat at the same time as you are having a conversation in another online forum. This can cause confusion and often people forget to log out of depressioNet or do not respond.

 

depressioNet is an Internet site – So you can 'leave' anytime!
Sometimes depressioNet will not be what you need. That is OK. Please do not post messages that say you are 'leaving' depressioNet. There is no need, and in the past people have been embarrassed to post or visit the chat room after they have said they were leaving.

depressioNet is provided as a safe place to come for information, help and support. It is always here for you when you need it. There is no obligation to visit or to post at any time.

 

The depressioNet Team
There are a team of people behind the screens who live with depression. Most of this team are volunteers who were initially visitors to depressioNet just like you. We are not health care professionals, but people who give our time to watch over the messageboard and chat to keep depressioNet a safe place for all.
We ask you to treat us with the consideration you expect and if you have any questions or concerns about the dNet Team, please send these directly to:

admin@depressionet.com.au or keith@depressionet.com.au.

We are here to help in any way we can. If you need further information on a depression related issue, email us at: team@depressionet.com.au and we will do our best to either provide it, find it, or point you in the right direction.

If you would like to speak with anyone of the depressioNet team, email them and organise a time to meet in chat.
There is also a 'Contact dNet Team' button in the chat which you can use at any time. When you press this button, an email is sent to the Team email address and will be received within a few minutes. If a member of the team does not respond within a few minutes, please press again and send another email to the team@depressioNet.com.au letting them know you didn't get a response. Copy this email to admin@depressioNet.com.au.

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Beyond depressioNet
Contact information
Many people who use depressioNet.com.au and visit our chat rooms and messageboard also choose to communicate via other means such as phone, email, 'MSN' and other online chat lines.

While we strongly discourage giving out any personal information to anyone you meet on the internet, ultimately the choice to contact another person you have 'met' on depressioNet, or to give your contact details to someone via email or another forum, is yours. depressioNet cannot take any action or responsibility for the behaviour of any person who may have visited depressioNet either currently or in the past, outside of the depressioNet messageboard or chat.

If an issue arises between two people outside of depressioNet, it should remain there and is not to be discussed in the depressioNet chat room or on the messageboard.

One conversation at a time
Please do not use the depressioNet chat at the same time as you are having a conversation in another online forum. This can cause confusion and often people forget to log out of depressioNet or do not respond. Please remember to always log out of the messageboard and chat when you have finished using them or if you are away from your computer.

Getting Together
We provide a 'Getting Together' (GT) messageboard for members to organise to meet other members in groups in public places. This forum has additional security and you need to provide additional information to depressioNet. If you would like access to the GT forum, send an email to team@depressioNet.com.au and we will be able to organise it for you. Note that this forum is for group gatherings in public places only. depressioNet strongly discourages meeting anyone from the Internet alone. This is extremely unsafe and anyone organising to meet with another person in a 1-1 situation may have access to the depressioNet chat room and messageboard withdrawn.

 

News of the death or harm of another person
If you hear that a member of the depressioNet chatroom and messageboard has died or is unwell, you are not to let other people in the chat know or post about it to the messageboard.

The people who use the depressioNet online communication forums are generally already more sensitive to issues such as death and mentioning that a person that they may have had contact with in the past has died may further upset them.

Let the depressioNet Team know by email to team@depressioNet.com.au and we will validate the information before it is made common knowledge so that others are not unnecessarily upset. In the past such news has been proven to be false.

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Appropriate Use
One site or service will never be able to be all things to all people.   There are other sites available for postings and behaviour that are not considered acceptable use on depressioNet.
There are also sites and services that are provided by professionals, government and other organisations where you will find professional help and counselling.

Please visit our links page or our help in your area section to find professional help. By being aware of how we and others are feeling and using these forums thoughtfully, depressioNet will be a safe place for us all.

Remember that:
1. Most people who visit depressioNet have depression and related conditions and can be emotionally fragile at times.
2. Hypersensitivity and paranoia are a horrible and common part of our illness. We need to be particularly careful of our reactions and the impact of our words on others.
3. Neither the other visitors nor the dNet Team are health care professionals.

Our chat room and messageboard are NOT to be used:

 

Suicide & Self Harm
Please do not post messages that may be interpreted as intention to harm yourself or suicide notes. These are of no benefit to anyone and can be very upsetting to others.

It is unfair to put people who are halfway across the country or the world in the position of being responsible for your life, and it is unfair to flaunt your overdose in front of people who care or who may even be harmed by it.

We are not professionals, and no mental health professional would take on the responsibility of preventing a suicide online, especially if the person doesn't give some information. There are too many liability risks for professionals - and even more for us.
Please do not put other visitors or depressioNet at risk by expecting us to prevent your suicide.

If you think you may be in danger you need to seek help to keep yourself safe immediately!

If you are not in physical danger it is much better to ask for help and support with getting through the tough times. Remember, this is what depressioNet is here for and there are plenty of us who know how you feel.

We have included a more detailed explanation of this guideline and the reasons for it.

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Do not rely on other members
Please remember that other members of depressioNet are not doctors or counsellors and be careful not to rely on them for support that may be more appropriate from a qualified health care professional. Please look to your doctor, visit our help in your area section or email us and we will help you to find the professional help and support that you need.

 

Advice
Remember that the visitors to depressioNet come from a variety of backgrounds and knowledge bases. Even information provided from very well meaning people may be incorrect, much like any advice you may hear at a BBQ with friends. It is important that you check all information with your doctor or a suitably qualified health care professional before acting on advice from even the most well meaning friends.

Unqualified medical advice, including recommendations that people change or stop their medications, is illegal and you will be banned. The ONLY acceptable advice is to suggest people discuss their issues with their doctors or seek treatment and advice from qualified health care professionals.

 

Factual Information
If you have any factual information you would like to share with others, send us this information so that we can include it in the relevant section of depressioNet. We have medical and consumer advisory panels to ensure that the information displayed on depressioNet as factual is accurate to the best of our knowledge.

Unqualified medical advice, including recommendations that people change or stop their medications, is illegal and you will be banned. The ONLY acceptable medical advice is to suggest people seek treatment from qualified clinical and therapeutic health care professionals.

 
Health Care Professionals
All Australians living with depression are welcome to use the depressioNet chat and messageboard. This includes health care professionals.

Health care professionals are to use the chat and messageboard only as 'people like us'. You are not to give any medical or health advice to other members or in anyway act as a health care professional within the depressioNet chat or messageboard. This places depressioNet at great risk and you will be immediately banned.

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Medication & Treatments
We have information about medication on depressioNet.com.au at:
http://www.depressionet.com.au/treatments.html. This information has been checked and cleared by a psychopharmacologist - expert in antidepressant medication. The messageboard is the place for us to share personal experiences. Again, include any links to information you feel may be of help and/or interest to others.

 

Posting Articles
If you have read something in a newspaper, magazine or on another Internet site that you think would be of interest and/or help to other members and would like to share it on the messageboard, please copy a link rather than the article itself.
This is so that we do not inadvertently breach any copyright.

For articles that are not on the Internet and hence have no link, we can request permission to reproduce these within depressioNet.com.au.
Tell us about the article and we will organise for it to be included on depressioNet then let you know so you can post the link on the board and share it with others.

 

Advertising & Research
If you have a product, service or even that you would like to let others know about, and it is of help and/or interest to Australian depression sufferers and their families and friends, contact us and we will work with you to find the most appropriate way of letting others know.
DO NOT post directly to the messageboard or promote in the chat room.

Similarly with research.
If you have a research project you would like our help with, please send this to us directly via email.  

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CHAT ETIQUETTE
The following are standard internet and chat and messageboard 'etiquette' guidelines.

Swearing
Swearing is not permitted in general. We have a broad range of ages and personality types visit depressioNet each day. Swearing is generally unnecessary and can be offensive. However we do acknowledge that there are times when you are really down and need to 'let off' some of the emotion and pain.

We do at times turn a blind eye to the odd word, however do understand that your post may be censored for swearing or we may have to ask you to modify your language for our chat room.

 

Opinions
Everyone's opinion is welcome and needed in order to provide a balance that reflects the diversity of people and personalities that make up the world we live in. depressioNet is here for all Australians living with depression and our families and friends. This will naturally mean that others will have opinions that you do not agree with. That is OK - you don't have to agree with everyone! The important thing is how you respond.

Open discussion is healthy, just remember to keep the focus on the issue and keep personalities and negative personal comments out of it! depressioNet is not here to solve the riddle of depression. The chat rooms and messageboard are here for everyone to communicate and share personal experiences. This is not a place to make judgements.

So what to do if you disagree?
Learn, consider, grow, or if not in the mood for these... move on to another message or visit another chat room just as you would in real life.

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Be Careful with Humour and Sarcasm
Without the voice inflections and body language of personal communications, it is easy for a remark meant to be funny to be misinterpreted. Subtle humour tends to get lost, so take steps to make sure that people realise you are trying to be funny.

The Net has developed a symbol called the smiley face. It looks like " :-) " or " :) " and points out that something has been said with humorous intent. No matter how broad the humour or satire, it is safer to remind people that you are being funny.   Our messageboard has it's own set of smiley (and other expressive) faces! These are called 'emoticons'!

 

Please don't 'YELL'
Do not type in all capital letters as it becomes very hard to read and is considered as yelling on the Internet. If you are not able to use the shift key it is preferable if you type in lower case only.

 

Be Careful What You Say About Others
Please remember that thousands of people visit our chat room and messageboard. This quite possibly includes your boss, your friend's boss, your girl friend's brother's best friend and one of your father's beer buddies. Information posted on the net can come back to haunt you or the person you are talking about.

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Never Forget that the Person on the Other Side is Human
Because the interaction we have with others at depressioNet is through a computer it is easy to forget that there are people "out there." Situations arise where emotions erupt and things are said that can lead to hurt feelings.
Do not attack people if you disagree or cannot persuade them. Criticising and /or abusing others only serves to make people think less of you and less willing to help you when you need it.

If you are upset at something or someone, wait until you have had a chance to calm down and think about it. Often just waiting 24 hours can work wonders on your perspective and prevent you saying something you may regret later. Hasty words create more problems than they solve. Try not to say anything to others you would not say to them in person in a room full of people.

Remember that depression brings with it a tendency to be overly sensitive and paranoid and be thoughtful about your wording and how you are coming across. This will help make depressioNet a safe place for all.

 

Personal contact details
While most people who visit depressioNet are trustworthy and good people, it is extremely unwise to provide personal contact details to any person you 'meet' on the Internet. We ask our members not to give your phone number or any contact details to any other member of depressioNet. This is important for your own safety.

We strongly recommend you do not give your phone number or any other contact details to anyone you meet on the Internet.
It is not permitted to post your phone number or other personal information on the messageboard or give it out in the chat room, this includes email address and personal websites. This is for your safety and our "health on the net' code of conduct. We will remove phone numbers or personal contact details for your safety.

Contacting others via email.
Under no circumstances will depressioNet provide any contact details of another member. If you would like to contact someone else via email, please let us know and we will provide that person with your email address and let them know you would like them to contact you. They are under no obligation to do so. Remember that many members have anxiety and it is important no one feels pressure to have email contact.

Never give out information you may know about other people - particularly contact details!
No personal information, including email addresses, is to be given to a third person regardless of how you know this person. If you have any concerns or questions - email the Team and we will be able to advise you.

Be careful that you are not inadvertently giving out email addresses without permission!
Use the 'bcc' = 'blind carbon copy' feature on email when you are sending an email to more than one person. This will ensure you are not inadvertently giving out an email address that was given to you in confidence.
The same goes for forwarding emails where there is an email address in the original one. Take the time to delete any email addresses before you forward.

When I give you my email address, I like to know that I am not giving it to you AND all your friends. If you don't use bcc, when your friends forward your email, my email address will go to all their friends too!

Do not use depressioNet to seek or promote a personal relationship in the 'real' world.
Under no circumstances are the depressioNet messageboard or chat rooms to be used to seek or promote a personal relationship. Friendships will develop however for your safety and the safety of others we ask that these be restricted to within depressioNet and for the purpose of providing mutual support and encouragement along the road to recovery / living with depression effectively managed.

Often depression and anxiety cause us to isolate ourselves and it can be very lonely. depressioNet can help to overcome the isolation caused by stigma, however is not for finding friends or filling a gap for friends in our 'real' world. There are other sites that provide this service. The encouragement and support you will find here and professional support may help you to develop strategies to overcome the challenges that are causing loneliness and help you to fill these needs appropriately from within your world.

As depressioNet is not to be used to seek a personal relationship there is no reason to provide personal contact details. If you do not have the support you need in your 'real' world, send an email to team@depressioNet.com.au and we will find support groups and services in your area.

If you do chose to meet another member you do so at your own risk and any negative results or experiences are not to be discussed or brought within depressioNet in any way.

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Handling Grievances
Our depressioNet chat has a 'Contact dNet Team' button that you can press at any time and a volunteer visitor care team member will come in within a few minutes. If you have any grievances or concerns about any aspect of depressioNet, any other member, or a Visitor Care (dNet) Team member, please email your concerns to either:

team@depressionet.com.au or
admin@depressionet.com.au
(Longer response time - Review Team only).
DO NOT discuss the matter in open chat, on the board or with other members.
This is not constructive, causes 'gossip' and misunderstandings, and has the potential to upset others unnecessarily.

 

These guidelines are designed to help keep depressioNet safe and maintain a healthy, positive, caring environment.
If you have any questions, feedback, or suggestions for improvement, please email us at:
team@depressionet.com.au

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Your feedback and input will be greatly appreciated.

If you have a service or product that may be of assistance to people with depression or a related condition, or their support people, please contact us for details on how to be listed or contribute to this site.

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