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Administrator

Forum Guides

[ Edited ]

Welcome to the Forums guides. Below you’ll see a series of posts that will help you use the system, know your responsibilities and stay safe while you’re here.

About the Forums

The SANE Forums are a moderated service for Australians 18 years and over who are living with mental illness, and families, friends and carers of people living with mental illness.

The purpose of the Forums is for people affected by mental illness to share stories and information that can help us find positive pathways through our experience.

SANE Australia provides this service in conjunction with partner organisations throughout Australia.

Forums moderators are health professionals who are employed by SANE Australia and partner organisations. All moderators are identified as either a ‘moderator’ or ‘community manager’.

The Forums are primarily funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

For more Forums Guides, see:

Please note: SANE Forums are peer-to-peer support services. The information provided is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and their health care professionals.

They do not provide crisis support or counselling. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs urgent help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or in an emergency call 000.

Administrator

Getting started

[ Edited ]

New to SANE Forums? You can get up to speed fast with the Forums’ features by doing some of these things:

Read some discussions

The entire Forum is publicly available to read, so you can browse the Carers and Lived Experience Forums or use the search bar to explore. You’ll get a good idea of how the Forums work and what kind of topics are discussed.

Register as a member

Ready to add your voice? Click the ‘Register’ link on any Forum page to become a member and join the conversation.

Add a profile pic

Each member has a username and a picture to represent them on the Forums. In your Profile you can upload an anonymous picture or choose one of our preset images to be your avatar or on the Forums.

Read the Community Guidelines

The Forums are a safe, respectful and anonymous place. The Guidelines help all members make sure their voice adds to those principles, and explains what happens if moderators need to take any post down.

Find a discussion to join

Now you’re a member, you can find a discussion you can join and contribute to. Browse, search or filter the Forum to find a conversation you’d like to be part of. Not sure where to start? Introduce yourself and let the community point you in the right direction.

Write a post

Reply to any post to add your voice to the conversation. Introduce yourself in your first post and join the conversation. Your post will appear in the discussion and be moderated.

Favourite a post

Seen a post you’d like to read again, or come back to? Click the star next to it (on desktop or tablet) to favourite it.

Like a post

If a post is great, tell the Forum and the member who posted it by clicking the thumbs-up ‘Like’ button.

Start a discussion

If you’ve got something to share, here’s your chance to start a new discussion. Share your experience, your story, your thoughts and feelings.

Read the How-tos

Need more in-depth information about how to use the Forums? There are detailed, step-by-step guides in the How-tos section.

Join some regular Forum events

Here are a few:

Ask Anything Monday

You can email us any time at team@saneforums.org with any questions that you’re reluctant to post under your username on the Forums. We post these anonymously on Mondays so that members of the community can respond.

Topic Tuesday

Every Third Tuesday of the month in the Lived Experience Forum, and every fourth Tuesday of the month in the Carers Forum, we have a lively discussion about a topical issue. Sometimes we have a guest speaker, or we host an in-house conversation between our peers to address an issue of interest.

 

The Friday Feast

An opportunity just to mingle with other members. Bring along a virtual plate of food and enjoy people’s company. It usually starts around 6pm AEST.

Career Chat

A regular series of discussions about mental health and work hosted by Ostara Australia, where members can share practical advice and personal experiences.

*

Keep an eye on the Special Events topic for more events to join.

For more Forums Guides, see:

Please note: SANE Forums are peer-to-peer support services. The information provided is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and their health care professionals.

They do not provide crisis support or counselling. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs urgent help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or in an emergency call 000.

Highlighted
Administrator

Community guidelines

[ Edited ]

The SANE community guidelines are here to keep people safe on the Forums. It’s a good idea to read them, just so you know what’s okay here and what isn’t.

SANE Forums: an online community

Anyone living in Australia and 18 years or over is welcome to join and contribute to these Forums. This is your space, a place for all of us to give and receive support, share experiences and information, and help each other.

As a community, we highly value everyone’s contributions. Freedom of speech is encouraged, but there are some essential guidelines we set to keep the service safe, respectful and welcoming.

Forum principles

We aim to ensure that the SANE Forums are always:

  • safe
  • respectful
  • anonymous

Safety

In order to ensure the Forums are safe for you and other members, please:

  • share helpful content, focussed on wellbeing, recovery and help seeking behaviours
  • avoid remarks that could be considered defamatory or that might break the law in any way
  • do not publish content that contains graphic or specific details, or any descriptive account, of:
    • your or anyone else’s medication or dosages
    • eating disorder behaviours
    • self-harm methods
    • suicide methods
    • sexual or physical abuse
    • or any other content that others may find distressing or be harmful in any way.
  • post information that is true and correct to your best knowledge
  • report posts you think are inappropriate or breach these guidelines
  • report posts if you’re worried about the immediate safety of the poster.

Respect

We want to ensure everyone who comes to the SANE Forums feels welcome and respected. So please do not publish any content that:

  • is obscene or offensive
  • is malicious, personally attacking or hostile
  • may incite hatred or be seen as discriminatory
  • could be seen to be serving yours or somebody else’s commercial interests
  • could be interpreted as professional advice such as legal, medical, or financial advice.

All statements outside your personal experience — for example, about statistics, data, studies or medicine — should have trustworthy sources. Please include a link or reference to the source of the data within your post.

Our moderators may remove any content that is unsourced or could be considered harmful or triggering. If this happens to you, a moderator will be in touch to help work things out.

Anonymity

The SANE Forums are anonymous to help members feel they can share personal experiences without worrying about being identified. You should choose a SANE Forums username that is different to usernames you have on other social media services, and can’t identify you. Please do not publish:

  • your full name
  • your addresses — postal or email
  • your usernames on other social media services
  • the name of your workplace, uni or school
  • any other information by which you could be identified in real life.

What if I meet a moderator or member in real life?

It’s a small world, so it’s possible you could meet someone who tells you they are a member or moderator on the SANE Forums.

It’s worth thinking ahead about what you’ll say if that happens. Here are three options to consider:

Don’t say you’re a SANE Forums member

Even if someone is sharing with you, it’s okay not to share in the same way if you want to keep your membership private.

Say you’re a SANE Forums member, but don’t share your username

You can say you’re a member without revealing your username. This is okay, even if the other member tells you theirs. Saying you’d prefer to keep that private is fine. You may wish to reassure your fellow member that you won’t share their details with anyone. They might assume or try to guess which member you are — again, you don’t have to reveal anything.

Share your username

Before telling anyone your username, think: how comfortable do you feel with that person being able to connect your real-life identity to all your posts, past and present? Would telling them make you feel less safe to share openly on the Forums in future? Share your username only if you’re sure you’ll always feel safe with them knowing.

Privacy

SANE treats your privacy very seriously. For more on what information we collect and what we do and don’t do with it, read our Privacy policy.

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Whatever you choose, don’t publish to the Forums information about meeting other members in real life. There is a risk of identifiable information being shared, so moderators will remove those posts. The only exception to this is if two members knew each other before joining SANE Forums, but even then, keep it general and non-identifying.

What if I breach the guidelines?

It happens! We know it’s almost always unintentional. One of our moderators will contact you via email to let you know which guideline your post doesn’t meet, and explain why that particular guideline exists.

Your post will be taken off the Forums and you’ll be asked to edit it so it meets the guidelines. When you’ve done that, your post can be published again.

We strongly encourage you to edit your post and continue to be part of the conversation.

Banning members is a last resort, reserved for users who repeatedly and intentionally breach these Community Guidelines. In particular, name calling and trolling will not be tolerated.

If you're at risk of being banned, a moderator will tell you. Before making a decision to ban, the moderator will work with you via email to get you back on track. If you choose to ignore the moderators and continue to breach Community Guidelines, you will be notified of being banned via email and your account will be closed.

If you ever have any technical problems editing your post, please email team@saneforums.org

For researchers

If you are an individual or organisation conducting research, please contact team@saneforums.org with an overview of your research project. Please do not post advertisements or requests for participants without the approval of SANE Australia.

Your Feedback

These guidelines are the principles that keep everyone safe and help us all feel supported. They evolve over time, with your input.

Your feedback about the guidelines is encouraged and appreciated. There are two ways to contact us with suggestions:

  1. email team@saneforums.org
  2. click the ‘Your feedback’ link at the bottom of all Forum pages.

For more Forums Guides, see:

Please note: SANE Forums are peer-to-peer support services. The information provided is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and their health care professionals.

They do not provide crisis support or counselling. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs urgent help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or in an emergency call 000.

Administrator

How-tos

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How can I register as a SANE Forums member?

To become a SANE Forums member:

  1. at the top of any Forums page, click ‘Register
  2. enter an anonymous username and your personal details
  3. agree to the terms and conditions and click ‘Register’
  4. click the link in the email you receive to validate your email address.

How can I post a response in a discussion?

You can join a SANE Forums discussion any time. All you have to do is find a discussion you like and reply to a post in it.

A good length for a post is up to 200–300 words, or 1–4 paragraphs. Shorter is fine, but longer posts don’t tend to get as many replies.

Be as clear as you can about why you’re posting. If you need advice about a particular issue, make sure you ask specific questions. Or if you’re just sharing your thoughts, it can be helpful to say so.

It’s also a good idea to read the Community guidelines before your first post.

To add to a discussion:

  1. make sure you’re logged in
  2. choose the post you’d like to reply to
  3. click ‘Quick reply’ to see a little box you can use when your reply is short, or
  4. click ‘Reply’ for a bigger text box with more options, for a longer reply
  5. click ‘Post’ when you’re done.

How can I edit one of my posts?

To edit one of your posts:

  1. make sure you’re logged in on a tablet or desktop computer
  2. find the post you wish to edit
  3. under the title of the post, click ‘Edit’
  4. edit your post and click ‘post’ when you’re finished.

How can I delete one of my posts?

To delete one of your posts:

  1. make sure you’re logged in on a tablet or desktop computer
  2. find the post you wish to delete
  3. under the title of the post, click ‘Request Removal’
  4. fill in the form asking for information about the post. Be sure to include the URL of your post.

Your request will be sent to the team. Moderators will respond to your request as soon as possible, but there could be a delay, especially outside of business hours. If your need is urgent, edit your post and remove its contents.

How can I start a new discussion?

You can start a new discussion on the SANE Forums.

Before you start a new discussion, look through the Forums to see if the subject you want to talk about is already there. If it is, you can add to that discussion and get the benefit of everyone’s contributions. It’s okay to enter a discussion after it’s started.

To start a new discussion:

  1. make sure you’re logged in
  2. enter either the Carers or Lived Experience Forum
  3. choose the Discussion Topic you think your discussion belongs to
  4. click the ‘New discussion’ button with the speech bubble
  5. In the subject line, choose a title that clearly states what the discussion is about or what you would like assistance with. This increases the likelihood of relevant responses.
  6. It’s useful to write a short post, about 200 – 300 words, or anything up to 1 – 4 paragraphs
  7. Finish your post with a clear question or statement that people can respond to.
  8. Click ‘post’

How can I change my profile pic?

To change your profile pic:

  1. make sure you’re logged in on the desktop or tablet version of the Forums
  2. go to your profile by clicking on your username near the top right corner of the screen
  3. click 'edit my settings' in the blue box
  4. click 'Profile pictures'
  5. choose from our collections or click ‘Upload a profile picture’ to use your own.

How can I change my personal information?

To change your personal information:

  1. make sure you’re logged in on the desktop or tablet version of the Forums
  2. go to your profile by clicking on your username near the top right corner of the screen
  3. click 'edit my settings' in the blue box
  4. select ‘Personal Information’
  5. use the tabs underneath to find and change your information
  6. select ‘Save’.

How can I change the notifications I get?

To change your notifications settings:

  1. make sure you’re logged in on the desktop or tablet version of the Forums
  2. go to your profile by clicking on your username near the top right corner of the screen
  3. click 'edit my settings' in the blue box
  4. select ‘Subscriptions & notifications’
  5. select ‘Notification settings’
  6. change your settings
  7. select ‘Save’.

What if I forget my username or password?

If you forget your username or password:

  1. click ‘Login’ at the top right of the screen
  2. click ‘Forgot username or password?'
  3. enter the email address you used to register and you’ll receive an email to reset your password.

How can I find discussions?

There are three ways to find discussions you might like:

  1. by searching: start typing and results will start appearing
  2. by filtering: on a topic page, click ‘Show filter’ just below the search bar and choose a category to narrow down what you see
  3. by browsing: on the Lived experience and Carers Forum home pages, click a topic and scroll through the discussions there.

Moderation

All posts go live straight away, however a moderator will review them, to keep things safe, respectful and welcoming for everyone.

Moderators will contact you privately if you need to change anything before the post or discussion can go live.

How do I edit my post if a moderator removed it?

If you are asked to edit a post that a moderator has removed you can resubmit your post through your profile:

  1. make sure you’re logged in on the desktop or tablet version of the Forums
  2. go to your profile by clicking on your username near the top right corner of the screen
  3. find your post by scrolling down your profile until you see on the right hand side  a grey box called "My Items Awaiting Moderation"
  4. click on the picture of the speech bubble
  5. click on the "My Rejected Items" tab and your post can be found & edited.

How can I include other Forum members in my post?

When you write a post, you can include other members’ usernames to include them in the discussion:

If you are using the desktop or tablet version of the forums:

  1. type @ then start typing a username — you’ll see a list of suggested usernames
  2. select one and you’ll see it linked in your post.

You can add more usernames the same way. The member will receive an email notification letting them know they have been mentioned in your post.

This function isn’t available in ‘Quick reply’ or if you are using the mobile version. You can still @mention people by using the @ symbol followed by the member’s full username (please note, you must spell the username correctly to activate a notification to that member)

How can I favourite a post?

Favourites are like bookmarks to help you quickly find a post you want to see again. You can favourite posts on the desktop or tablet version of the Forums.

To favourite a post:

  1. go to the post you want to favourite
  2. click the grey star next to the date.

To see all the posts you’ve favourited:

  1. click your username to go to your profile
  2. click ‘View all’ in the blue ‘My favourites’ box on the right.

How can I like a post?

Likes show your appreciation. To like a post:

  1. go to the post you like
  2. click the ‘thumbs up’ button at the bottom of the post.

You can click the number of likes to see who else has liked this post.

To see all the posts you’ve liked:

  1. click your username to go to your profile on the desktop of tablet version of the Forums
  2. scroll down to the heading ‘Posts I’ve liked’

If someone likes your post you’ll receive an email notification (unless you have opted out), and it will appear on your profile.

How can I report a post as inappropriate?

If you see something on a Forum post that you think breaks the Community guidelines:

On desktop or tablet:

  1. click ‘Report inappropriate content’ at the bottom of the post
  2. a moderator will receive the email and review and take action. You may not receive a response from the moderator, but they may email you to clarify.

On mobile:

  1. email team@saneforums.org
  2. Use ‘inappropriate content’ in the subject line of the email
  3. Include a link to the post in question

How can I report a post because I’m worried about a member?

Use ‘Report inappropriate content’ as outlined above.

A moderator will review the post. They may not get back to you individually, as they may need to take action for the safety of the member.

Moderators have a strict duty of care process that often takes place behind the scenes, so please do not be alarmed if you don’t hear back from a moderator.

You are not responsible to keep someone safe, so you have no obligation to respond to a member who states they are at risk. However, if you do feel you want to respond, the most helpful content to include is:

How can I print a post?

There’s a little printer figure next to the time and date on each post. Clicking it will take you to a version of the post that’s suitable for printing.

How can I see my recent activity on the Forums?

You can see all your Forum activity in one place:

  1. make sure you’re logged in on the desktop or tablet version of the Forums
  2. click your username
  3. scroll down past your private statistics to see posts your likes, posts and your activity feed.

How can I get technical help?

If you have any problems using the Forums, a great place to get support is on the Forums — ask your community!

If you have trouble accessing the service at all, contact us at team@saneforums.org. We're always happy to see how we can help.

For more Forums Guides, see:

Please note: SANE Forums are peer-to-peer support services. The information provided is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and their health care professionals.

They do not provide crisis support or counselling. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs urgent help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or in an emergency call 000.

Administrator

Self-care and conflict

[ Edited ]

The SANE Forums is a supportive community, but just like other communities, there are challenging times. Times when people don’t see eye-to-eye, or when things you read can trigger strong emotions.

So what can you do when something on the Forums upsets you? Here are some suggestions.

Self-care for Forums users

Your first priority should always be self-care. If you’re upset about something you read on the Forums, it may be helpful to work through the following steps:

  1. Pause. If your reaction is very strong, take some time out away from the Forums, or away from the thread where the discussion is occurring. Posting when you’re agitated or upset can lead to feeling more distressed, so take a break to help your emotions settle.
  2. Check in with those emotions. Are you feeling upset? Angry? Annoyed? Is it only about this event, or has it triggered past memories or hurts?
  3. Emote. Use strategies you have found helpful in the past to manage strong emotions. For example, find an offline place to write what you feel. A notepad, a diary, anywhere only you will see it. It’s not for anyone else to read, so you can express yourself without a filter.
  4. Seek help. If you’re distressed, talk to your therapist, your doctor, a helpline, a friend, anyone who will help you vent and process your emotions.
  5. Soothe. Do the things you do to calm yourself. Listen to your favourite music, make a cup of tea, run, take a bath, watch your favourite movie. Treat yourself.
  6. Reflect. When you’re ready, take some time to reflect on what upset you on the Forums, and decide if you want to respond. Responding and not responding are both valid options.

This also applies if you’re not feeling up to giving support on the Forums. It’s okay to step back for a while. You could avoid certain topics or discussions, or take some time out of the Forums altogether for self-care. If you want to stay on, you could visit some of ‘lighter’ discussions.

Find out how other members manage triggers and self-care.

Addressing conflict

Conflict is a normal part of communicating and connecting. It can be stressful, but it can also be an opportunity to work through and resolve issues.

If you decide you want to communicate with the other member and try to resolve the conflict, there are a few useful things to do:

  • Practise empathy. Did the other member mean harm? Is it possible they put their point badly or didn’t quite say what they mean? Is it a valid point, even if it upset you?
  • Ask them to clarify what they meant. ‘I’m not sure I understood when you said x. Could you explain a little more please?’
  • Focus on the issue, not the person. ‘I disagree about this topic’ is better than ‘you are wrong/hurtful/bad.’
  • Use ‘I’ statements to describe your emotions. ‘I felt upset’ is better than ‘you upset me.’
  • Respect their point of view, while offering your own. If someone has expressed a hurtful opinion, see it as an opportunity to educate them on the impact it can have on others.
  • Stay tuned into your feelings. If you get frustrated or upset, or the conversation becomes unproductive, it’s okay to take a break. Self-care is priority number one, so return to those steps if you need to.

Getting moderators involved

Forums moderators work behind the scenes reviewing posts. If a moderator spots a conflict, they may enter the conversation and try to help resolve things.

You can also email team@saneforums.org to alert them to the situation.

If you see any content that is harmful or triggering, or you believe violates the Community guidelines, you can use the ‘Report Inappropriate Content’ function on the desktop or tablet version of the Forums to alert the moderator.

A moderator:

  1. will attempt to facilitate a resolution between the members within the thread
  2. will contact each member involved via email to continue working towards a resolution if no resolution seems possible on the Forums
  3. may temporarily close a thread to diffuse the situation If a discussion thread becomes unproductive
  4. will remove the post and contact the member if the conflict breaches guidelines.

Remember: if you don’t want to address the conflict straight away, that’s okay. Breathing space can be helpful. Take some time out, practise self-care and revisit the discussion when you’re ready.

For more guidance on how to respond to conflict, email team@saneforums.org

 For more Forums Guides, see:

Please note: SANE Forums are peer-to-peer support services. The information provided is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and their health care professionals.

They do not provide crisis support or counselling. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs urgent help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or in an emergency call 000.

Administrator

Glossary

[ Edited ]

Mental health acronyms & abbreviations

 

ABI – acquired brain injury

ADD – attention deficit disorder

ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

ASD – autism spectrum disorder

BPD – borderline personality disorder

CBT – cognitive behavioural therapy

CTO – community treatment order

DBT – dialectical behavioural therapy

DID – dissociative identity disorder

ECT – electro-convulsive therapy

ED – eating disorder

ERP – exposure response prevention therapy

GAD – generalised anxiety disorder

GP – general practitioner

IPT – interpersonal therapy

MDD – major depressive disorder

MH – mental health

MI – mental Illness

OCD – obsessive-compulsive disorder

OT – occupational therapy/therapist

Pdoc – psychologist or psychiatrist

PHN – Primary Health Network

PIR – Partners In Recovery

SH – self harm

SI – suicidal ideation

SSRI – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor

PRAC – prevention and recovery care

PTS – post-traumatic stress

PTSD – post-traumatic stress disorder

 

On the SANE Forums

 

Forum – a collection of discussion topics which registered members can contribute to. There are two SANE Forums — Carers and Lived Experience — and members are able to contribute to both.

Discussion Topic – a collection of discussions (as defined below) on a similar theme.

Discussion – one online conversation on a single subject. Moderators or members can start a new discussion post to existing ones.

Post – one contribution from a member in a discussion. Moderators and members can post.

Member – a user of the SANE Forums who has registered. Members can post, reply, like and favourite posts and have their own user profile on the site. Each member has a ‘rank’ depending on how many times they have posted:

New Contributor – 0 posts

Casual Contributor – 3 posts

Contributor – 10 posts

Senior Contributor – 30 posts

Community Guide – Volunteer long time members who are instrumental in maintaining a productive and supportive community.

For more Forums Guides, see:

 

Please note: SANE Forums are peer-to-peer support services. The information provided is designed to complement, not replace, the relationship between a patient and their health care professionals.

They do not provide crisis support or counselling. If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs urgent help call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or in an emergency call 000.