Joining a Chat Room to Help With Depression

Providing a Safe Place to Seek Support

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Depression chat rooms can help if you are feeling depressed and need to talk to someone who understands just what it is that you are going through. You can find a safe place to express yourself and get support from others who are also experiencing depression.

If You Have Thoughts of Suicide or Self-Harm

However, if you are feeling suicidal and in danger of hurting yourself, rather than going to a non-crisis chat room, you should seek assistance from your doctor, therapist, or a suicide hotline. In the United States, dial 1-800-273-8255 or 911. You can also chat online with a suicide-prevention counselor or text to 838255 during these times of crisis. These links are also appropriate for veterans (press 1 and you will be linked to counselors who have been trained in issues that you may be experiencing).

Depression Chat Rooms

These organizations provide moderated chat rooms, which means a volunteer is present in the rooms to help make sure that all users are following site rules and treating each other respectfully. These rooms are not a substitute for professional treatment for depression, but you may find the community to be supportive.

  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) offers peer-led online support groups and forums to give people living with depression and bipolar disorder a place to share experiences and coping skills and gain hope.
  • Depression Chat Rooms from depression-chat-rooms.org aims to connect people who have issues regarding depression and anxiety. They also welcome people with similar or related health issues such as bipolar disorder and eating disorders. The website is independent, nonprofit, and free. Note that chat rooms on the site are moderated, while forums are not.
  • Depression Forums has more than 70,000 members and offers forums on topics ranging from depression and anxiety to recovery and coping to medication and therapy that are moderated by volunteers. 
  • Depression Sanctuary is a nonprofit organization created to provide a safe, moderated platform for people with depression to seek support from other like-minded people. Membership is required to participate in the Depression Sanctuary chat rooms, but it's completely free to join. They offer hosted chats at specific times. Be aware that to keep the support group a safe and comfortable place for all members, certain rules must be followed while in the chat rooms. Depression Sanctuary is staffed by volunteers who also live with depression. Be kind and treat them with the same respect and care that you'd want for yourself.
  • Depression Understood offers a depression chat room that is always open. They aim to have a relaxed, supportive, and informal atmosphere.
  • HealthUnlocked runs in partnership with the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) and offers a safe space for anxiety and depression support. 

Benefits and Risks of Chat Rooms

Moderated chat rooms offer a safer place to express yourself compared with open social media platforms. However, they are not generally staffed by mental health professionals. The volunteer moderators or hosts will try to maintain order, but they may not always be effective in preventing abusive behavior.

You may find the design and usability for some of the chat rooms to be better than others. Be sure to read the etiquette rules for the group, which might include guides on starting new topics, a list of topics that are off-limits, and whether it's OK to attach images or provide links.

You may also wish to explore whether there are health organizations in your area that offer a form of online intervention or treatment for depression. If you have a doctor or therapist who is treating you for depression, ask about options you have for online therapy. Chat rooms provide peer-to-peer support, but therapy (either online or in person) is important for the treatment of depression.

The Pros

If you struggle with sharing your emotions, verbal communication via an online chat room might be easier for you. Another perk: anonymity. Some people find comfort in not having to express themselves face to face. This can be especially true if you struggle with depression as well as low self-esteem.

There's a lot of solidarity when talking to people who are going through similar situations. Even if you have a supportive group of friends and family, they might not be able to fully understand what it feels like to live with depression. 

That said, these forums shouldn't replace your real-life support system. If you find yourself spending a lot of time online, in lieu of meeting up with friends and family, it may be a red flag that you're using these forums to replace face-to-face interactions.

The Cons

While the majority of people on these online forums are there to help, it's impossible to know everyone's motivation, so you'll need to exercise caution to ensure your online relationships are healthy and genuine. Unfortunately, online predators who are looking to take advantage of those who are feeling vulnerable do exist. If someone is making you uncomfortable or ashamed of your depression, block or report the person to the moderator.

While a depression forum is a great place to connect with others and share experiences, it cannot (and should not) replace seeing a professional. If you are experiencing severe depression, it is best to consult with your doctor or a mental health practitioner.

A Word From Verywell

Connecting with others who are going through what you are experiencing can be a positive step. Depression is a mood disorder that causes a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It may require long-term treatment, but most people with depression feel better with medication, talk therapy, or both. Get the help that can further your journey out of depression.

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Article Sources

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