In the last few years the online world has grown massively, and so has the negativity against it. It has often been said that in our socially connected world we are becoming less sociable. We stare at our phones when talking to the people in front of us. However, research from the University of Exeter has actually found that by getting involved in online forum boards you become more active and engage more in the real world.
Forums can be a safe place to receive and give support without feeling embarrassed or judged. The University of Exeter research revealed that those who talked on forums, which about more stigmatised topics gained the most benefits. We have seen the benefits firsthand within our own forums, which enable people to talk about a wide range of conditions and issues and find a supportive group of people who are interested in the same conditions or topics, who they can open up to.
Support can be found in forums for everyone. It only takes one discussion ̶ to make a positive difference. Here are out top 5 health forums right now:
1. Anxiety Disorder
The topic of anxiety covers a wide range of things and is the most common mental health condition. Yet is still stigmatised by many. However, this forum is the largest and most active on our site (with over 6,000 members and 12,000 posts). This demonstrates the need people have to discuss and open up about their mental health experiences. Anxiety can eat away at people, draining them of energy and filling them with fear and guilt. Anxiety can cause panic attacks, stress and phobias and then these in turn further anxiety. But by talking about it and highlighting how common anxiety disorders are people seem to feel safer and that they are being listened to.
Become part of the anxiety disorder discussion here.
2. Hip replacement
Our forums offer peer-to-peer support in both mental health and physical health; the hip replacements group is our second-most active forum when it comes to discussions. It has more than 17,000 posts and helps those who are confused or unsure about what to expect before and after a hip replacement operation.
Become part of the hip replacement discussion here.
Talking about your problems is always a great help for anyone, but for those living with depression it can have a dramatic impact on their lives. Our depressions forum provides a compassionate community where people can talk about their feelings, offering resources and advice to others and tell their stories – and also learn from others’ experiences.
Become part of the depression discussion here.
There are many questions that women often have about the menopause, but sometimes finding the answer can be tricky. On our menopause forum, women are able to talk directly to each other and share how they coped with, or faced this milestone – both emotionally and physically. Whether it’s asking about medication or symptoms or reassuring others who are worried or embarrassed, this forum allow a multitude of experiences to connect and be heard.
Become part of the menopause discussion here.
We also have forums for a comprehensive range of medications, where people can talk directly about their experience with using these treatments. Our largest medication discussion board is for citalopram - a tablet used to treat those with depression and panic disorders. Citalopram increases the amount of serotonin circulating in the brain, which can improve a person’s mood. Like all drugs, it has side effects, and the forums allow people to find answers and get support when these occur and connects them with a supportive community where they can talk about their depression. Quite often on the website, sometimes people will chart their progress with the drug which can act as medication diary and give a useful insight into the long-term positives and negatives of the drug.
Become part of the citalopram discussion here.