I want to write a post to make it really clear what we hope for our site, on communities like Diabetes India.
HealthUnlocked prides itself on providing a positive atmosphere in all of it’s communities, in which all members are welcomed and have a safe, anonymous space to discuss their health experiences.
Most importantly, we want to promote a supportive relationship between community members, regardless of differences in opinion or personality.
We want to promote peer support.
Peer support is a mutual exchange of help and conversation based on “shared understanding, respect and mutual empowerment between people in similar situations” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_support
Peer support does not require identical experiences or opinions, but consists of encouraging each other through common difficulties.
Unless an administrator is a healthcare professional, HealthUnlocked does not offer specialist expertise and does not replace the relationship between you and your doctor.
The discussions within our communities are members sharing and exploring their different perspectives and solutions with each other.
Members are encouraged to share their discoveries and to learn from each other.
Peer support should not be directive e.g.“This will work for you because it worked for me”. Instead, we expect for members to encourage each other to seek their own solutions and making sure the community feels supported along the way.
Members should understand that health challenges can affect people in different ways, and that health experiences are no less valuable because they are different from their own or because they are uncommon.
Members should strive to create a safe atmosphere for their peers, and show consideration for what might make others feel unsafe. This means being tolerant of conflicting views, avoiding judgment and accepting that no one member is “right” and has “all the answers”.
At it’s best, peer support should involve giving each other hope and the motivation to take up valued opportunities.