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espressologic
Administrator

Your feedback needed: Updating our forum categories

Hi everyone,

Moving forward with the next round of improvements from our forums co-design project, we're keen to respond to feedback that the layout of the forums is confusing.  To make a start on this, we're looking at updating the discussion categories in the forums to make it clearer where you can find things and post about certain topics.  

To set the scene: the SANE Forums currently are actually two forums - a Lived Experience and a Friends, Family & Carers forum.  Underneath each of these forums, you have identical sets of categories with really broad titles:

Lived Experience Forum

* Welcome and getting started
* Our stories
* Looking after ourselves
* Social spaces
* Something's not right
* Useful resources
* Special events
* Life after bushfires
* Forum news and updates

 

Friends, Family & Carers Forum

* Welcome and getting started
* Our stories
* Looking after ourselves
* Social spaces
* Something's not right
* Useful resources
* Special events
* Forum news and updates

 

So, we have 17 categories spread across two forums, with duplication as you can see.

When we examine the activity across these, we see that 97% of all posts are made in the Lived Experience forum.  Within the Lived Experience forum, activity is also unevenly distributed:

* 40% of posts are made in Something's not right

* 41% of posts are made in Social spaces

* 11% of posts are made in Looking after ourselves

* 5% of posts are made in Our stories

* 3% of posts are made in Welcome and getting started

What we are proposing is to reduce this to 10 categories in one single forum (lived experience and friends/family/carers all together). 

In the next post, I will set out the draft new categories we've come up with, based on a deep analysis of the themes emerging from the hundreds of thousands of forum posts made in the last 2-3 years.

What we need from you

Have a read of the categories below. How do they sound? Are there any big topics we've missed? How are the descriptions? We'll keep this thread open for feedback and discussion over the next month, until 30 June 2024.

74 REPLIES 74

Re: Your feedback needed: Updating our forum categories

Welcome and getting started: Introduce yourself to the community, learn about forum guidelines, and get help navigating the forums. This is the place for newcomers to get acquainted with the forums and ask any questions about how things work.

Special events and updates: Stay informed about upcoming events, announcements, and important updates from the SANE Forums team. This is where you can find the latest news and special activities within the community, like peer group chats and mental health recovery webinars.

Managing relationships: Discuss issues and seek advice related to family, friendships, romantic relationships, and other interpersonal connections. Share your experiences and get support for relationship challenges.

Social catch-up: Engage in light-hearted, casual conversations with other members. This is the space for problem-free, general chat.

Mental health conditions and management: Share your experiences, seek advice, and find support for various mental health conditions. Discuss treatments, symptoms, coping strategies and experiences with health professionals.

Trauma, grief, and resilience: Talk about your experiences with trauma, loss, and the journey to resilience. Find support for coping with grief and recovering from traumatic events.

Personal development and self-care: Explore ways to improve your well-being, develop new skills, and practice self-care. Share tips and strategies for personal growth and maintaining mental health.

Stress and anxiety management: Seek and share advice on managing stress and anxiety. Discuss techniques, therapies, and personal stories related to reducing stress and anxiety levels.

Managing suicidal thoughts and self-harm: A safe space to discuss struggles with suicidal thoughts and self-harm. Share your experiences, seek help, and offer support to others facing similar challenges.

Advocacy and policy discussion: Engage in conversations about mental health advocacy and policy. Share your thoughts on current policies, suggest changes, and discuss how policies impact people living with mental health conditions.

Re: Your feedback needed: Updating our forum categories

Hi @espressologic 

If you were to be posting in "something not right", where would you be posting now?  

Why do you want to combine the two parts of the forums? 

What about having something for loneliness? I am sure a lot of people, including myself, feel lonely, and that might be nice when we can all connect. 

What about specific ones for depression, eating disorders, etc, such as anxiety, SI and SH one you've mentioned below? 

Re: Your feedback needed: Updating our forum categories

@espressologic I don't like the 'singling out' of some areas i.e Trauma, Grief and Resilience; Stress and Anxiety Management; Managing Suicidal Thoughts and Self-harm.

 

These could be sub categories/threads in a combined Mental Health Management section (NB 'conditions' deleted).

 

This would then reduce the number of categories to 7 - which is a much more manageable number ...especially when members are looking where to go. 

 

At present, 9 categories on the LE side (and 8 the same on the Carer's side) is already too much so increasing that number would also be too much. I think we need to also reconsider how we group some 'conditions' ie. why is trauma and grief together? and why do we need a section on SI and SH - I can see such a section becoming more of a crisis area rather than one where members safely share their experiences and support for each other.

Re: Your feedback needed: Updating our forum categories


@Zoe7 wrote:

@espressologic I don't like the 'singling out' of some areas i.e Trauma, Grief and Resilience; Stress and Anxiety Management; Managing Suicidal Thoughts and Self-harm.

 

These could be sub categories/threads in a combined Mental Health Management section (NB 'conditions' deleted).

 

This would then reduce the number of categories to 7 - which is a much more manageable number ...especially when members are looking where to go. 

 

At present, 9 categories on the LE side (and 8 the same on the Carer's side) is already too much so increasing that number would also be too much. I think we need to also reconsider how we group some 'conditions' ie. why is trauma and grief together? and why do we need a section on SI and SH - I can see such a section becoming more of a crisis area rather than one where members safely share their experiences and support for each other.


Thanks for the feedback @Zoe7.  The idea behind the singling out was to be more specific about topic areas and better signpost areas of the forum where these discussions are taking place.  It also allows members who wish to avoid certain topics that may be triggering to make informed choices without us needing to post trigger warnings (which research is showing can be counter-productive).  I know these won't be 100% right yet so it's going to be really valuable to sense-check these categories with you all.  This is a first attempt at creating some new categories after analysing the themes emerging from posts.

 

Why are trauma and grief together?  I'm not sure at this stage we would have enough posts to have these as separate categories, and it was thought that a lot of common ground is shared between these experiences (e.g., processing intense emotional pain relating to an experience).  But definitely open to discussing having them be separate.

 

Why a separate category for suicidal thoughts and self-harm?  These are chronic, everyday experiences for many people posting here.  Having a specific area on the forum for discussing this allows us to break down the stigma around discussing these topics, as well as provide dedicated recovery-oriented support for managing these thoughts and urges.  It will be moderated to the same guidelines we currently use for posts on these topics, and is not intended to be a crisis support area.

 

The mental health conditions category: Struggled with finding a name for this one, but this category is reflective of many posts coming through where members are naming specific diagnoses and wanting support around these, often in connection with professional supports and navigating the mental health system.  These posts often (but not always) are made by carers and support people.  

Re: Your feedback needed: Updating our forum categories

Hi @Birdofparadise8 

 


@Birdofparadise8 wrote:

If you were to be posting in "something not right", where would you be posting now?  


The idea would be to post a thread in an area that most closely relates to what you're needing support with at that time.  The categories suggested are based on themes from posts members have been making over the last 2-3 years.  We are looking to encourage more topic-based threads rather than general discussions that run to hundreds or thousands of pages - these impact page load speeds and also make it difficult for new members to join in the conversation.

 


@Birdofparadise8 wrote:

Why do you want to combine the two parts of the forums?  


The carers section of the forums is barely used (as mentioned, only 3% of all posts are made there). Members posting in the carers section often notice this, and will re-post their thread in the lived experience section. Separating out carers from lived experience also takes away an opportunity for breaking down barriers and allowing perspectives to be shared.

 


@Birdofparadise8 wrote:

What about having something for loneliness? I am sure a lot of people, including myself, feel lonely, and that might be nice when we can all connect. 

What about specific ones for depression, eating disorders, etc, such as anxiety, SI and SH one you've mentioned below? 




We will always be open to starting up new categories if a particular trend in posts starts to emerge.  For example, the Life After Bushfires category that was started up a few years ago.  

 

The idea here was to try and cover as many of the popular topics as possible without creating too many categories.  Based on the current level of activity, ten well-defined categories should evenly spread out the posts (rather than the bunching we see at the moment), as well as help new members find content that they're after.  

 

Loneliness is an interesting one: if you were looking to connect with others and just chat generally, then we would encourage the use of the Social area.  If you were looking to get advice on how to manage feelings of loneliness, then there are a number of areas such a discussion might fit depending on your circumstances (e.g., Managing relationships, Stress and anxiety management).  

 

We pulled out separate categories for stress and anxiety, suicide/SH because we can see the number of posts being made on these topics warrants a separate section. 

 

The idea behind a 'mental health conditions' category was to gather all posts where members want to discuss a specific diagnosis (e.g., eating disorders, ADHD, BPD, depression etc).  We could easily have dozens of categories if we created a separate area for each one, and we are open to doing this if we have enough threads being posted to warrant it.
 

Re: Your feedback needed: Updating our forum categories

@Zoe7 @Birdofparadise8 and others - a further thought around 'smaller' categories.  What are everyone's thoughts on the forum tags?  Do you use them?  Is this a helpful way of finding topic-based content?  

Re: Your feedback needed: Updating our forum categories

Hi @espressologic.

 

So with the new setup we don’t have one thread anymore where we keep track of everything? It’ll be different threads all over each section? I can see the growth in where I have come from with the first posts on the thread I created until now. It’s been good and beneficial to go back to different times and see the difference. 


I found I have made connections with the thread and we all check in on each other and support each other on respective threads. 

I don’t really have the confidence at the moment to make threads in each section. So that would mean that I may miss support and encouragement when needed. 

Im not sure what you mean by forum tags? I like when my user name is tagged as then I follow up and don’t miss things. 

Re: Your feedback needed: Updating our forum categories


@Captain24 wrote:

Hi @espressologic.

 

So with the new setup we don’t have one thread anymore where we keep track of everything? It’ll be different threads all over each section? I can see the growth in where I have come from with the first posts on the thread I created until now. It’s been good and beneficial to go back to different times and see the difference. 


I found I have made connections with the thread and we all check in on each other and support each other on respective threads. 

I don’t really have the confidence at the moment to make threads in each section. So that would mean that I may miss support and encouragement when needed. 


We understand that long-running threads provide a sense of continuity and connection. Unfortunately, when they run on too long important topics can get lost within them and it's difficult for newer members to join in and engage. Threads running to hundreds of pages also slows down the loading time for forum pages which impacts everyone.

Encouraging topic-based threads will help everyone find and join relevant discussions more easily. You can still maintain connections by mentioning or tagging members in new threads. It might feel different at first, but creating new threads can also help you reflect on your progress in more organised ways, serving as new chapters on your journey (you will also still be able to revisit your old threads).

 


@Captain24 wrote:

Im not sure what you mean by forum tags? I like when my user name is tagged as then I follow up and don’t miss things. 


If you scroll down to the bottom of the landing page inside the forum you'll see this. The tags are the subjects inside the boxes.  

Screenshot 2024-05-31 104136.png

Re: Your feedback needed: Updating our forum categories

Hi @espressologic 

 

Im not really comfortable with that. I do now that change needs to and is going to happen. I know it’s an exciting time for the team behind it. 

I do feel it may be more triggering and harder to support, but that is just me and I’m only one person and that really does not matter much in the scheme of things. I do feel it’ll be harder to form friendships but I guess that’s not what we are really here for. 

As for the tags I didn’t even realise that they were there so no I don’t use them. 

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