Mind Charity have recently launched an online community platform called Side by Side. This is a place where people who are struggling with their mental health can come together to support one another through the difficult times. Our co-founder, MJ, introduced me to this platform, so I decided to sign up and see what it was like.
First of all, I would like to mention that Side by Side is or people over the age of 18.
When I signed up, it took me around five minutes to set up my profile. It allows you to select mental health conditions that you relate to as well as selection some topics that interest you. On your profile, there is a space that encourages you to share your story, here you can write all about the things that you have been through and the conditions that you struggle with, or you can keep it short and simple, it is completely up to you!
You are also able to add a picture to your profile if you wish to do so.
The platform is very simple and easy to navigate, with a home button at the top, taking you to the main feed, a notification button and a private message button.
The main feed is where you will find all of the other users posts as well as posts from Mind Charity themselves, encouraging conversations. You do not need to add people to your friends list like you do on other social media platforms, instead, all users posts can be seen on the home page.
When using the home page, you will notice that you are able to ‘react’ to other people’s posts as well as write a comment. The options for the reactions are:
– ‘I hear you’
– ‘This has helped me’
– ‘Thinking of you’
When people react to your posts, or to a post that you have commented on or reacted to, this will show up in your notifications.
Another feature allows you to send private messages to other users, which is nice as it enables you to talk to other people who are going through similar experiences as yourself. However, if you do not want to receive private messages, you can deactivate this feature in the settings.
So far, I have found using this platform to be quite refreshing. I have not came across any judgemental comments or the spreading of negativity or hate. Everyone seems to be using the platform for its intended purposes and are reaching out to support one another and share their experiences with each other which is really nice to see.
It helps to make you feel less alone in your struggles, seeing that there are so many other people who are in the same boat as you, or who have been through similar in the past, is refreshing. It enables you to lean on each other and offer advice and guidance for getting through and moving forward.
It appears as though Mind Charity are watching over the platform carefully to ensure that people are being kind to one another and are not sharing any personal contact details etc.
I discovered this as I created a post about the blog which included the blogs email address, shortly after posting, I received a message from mind in my inbox politely stating that they had to remove the post due to it including an email address. They also let me know that sharing my blog and/or business was completely fine, but to keep personal contact details off of the post.
It may not be for everyone, but if you are struggling and are feeling alone at the moment; I definitely think that you should give it a try!
We all need some help and support from time to time, and that is nothing to be ashamed of.
Have Hope Always,