"We work to relieve and to prevent this treatable condition by providing information and support services."

A Single Step, issue Winter 2007-08

DATalk

What is DATalk?

There are already many public access forums concerning depression, but DATalk is a private mail list - smaller and quieter than some public newsgroups and mail lists - just for DA supporters.

It's a way in which DA supporters can talk among themselves, a bit like DA's local 'self-help' groups, except that it takes place via e-mail, and has no fixed meeting time or discussion topics.

It belongs to its supporters, but exists under the aegis of DA, and subscribes to any guidelines DA has for groups. It is particularly useful for people who can’t get out or don’t live near a DA support group.

DATalk has been in existence since late 1997 and currently has around two hundred varied supporters, who are depression sufferers or carers and can receive and give support to each other.

DATalk is confidential and is a closed and private list. Members can only be subscribed by the administrator, who will first check that they are DA supporters. The mailing list server allows only members to post to or receive messages from the list. Only the administrator is able to read the list of members on the server. Members are expected to respect each others' confidentiality.

What is a mail list?

A mail list is a means by which a group of e-mail users with a common interest can communicate among themselves, via a single list e-mail address on a central computer (the mail list 'server'). We are currently using Yahoo as our host.

How do I join the DATalk mail list?

Membership of DATalk is restricted to current DA supporters. You need to send a message to Julia Cosby, the DATalk moderator and administration volunteer, at datalk-admin@depressionalliance.org asking to join. Your email should include your name, and your address or Supporter ID. These will be used just for checking against the DA supporter database.

The moderator will then send you further information including rules of use and subscribe you to the list. New DATAlk members should read the rules carefully (as a breach of rules is taken seriously: the rules are there to protect all members).

You will also receive an invitation from Yahoo Groups with instructions to follow in order to start receiving and making postings for DA-Talk.

How do I participate in DATalk?

Members of DA-Talk send postings to the server. The server then forwards their posting to all list members. You can join in any discussion, by replying to any posting. Your reply will also be forwarded via the server to all list members. Or you can start up a new discussion ('thread') yourself. Until you post, no-one knows you are even a member.

Confidentiality

It is a closed and private list. Members can only be subscribed by the administrator, who will first check that they are DA supporters. The mailing list server allows only members to post to or receive messages from the list. Only the administrator is able to read the list of members on the server. Members are expected to respect each others' confidentiality.

What DATalk members have said about using the online group:

In the words of two supporters…

Although joining DA was not perhaps as easy at it could have been, once sorted the benefits were well worth it.

DATalk is brilliant and it so good to be able to unburden troubles to the group in general as someone is certain to reply and offer help, understanding or encouragement. The really big benefit is just knowing that you are actually communicating with people who do understand, no matter how crazy you think you sound, no-one will call you crazy and everyone is so supportive.

There was one night when I could really have ended everything, but just being able to unburden what had made me feel that way to the Group made a difference and then to receive a couple of replies within an hour really helped.

As you can see, I am still here!

We all have our different problems and triggers and within the group we are all respected by each other which is what makes it 'safe'. It has made a huge difference to me in the few months I have been using it. There are no magic cures, but just knowing others do understand and have/do feel the same makes so much difference, as often talking to a partner or friend is like talking to an alien as they just don't understand. The different responses too often help as one may be more appropriate than another, but just knowing that someone has taken the time to help you is so important and a major part of DATalk.

You don't even have to post anything, you can often benefit just from reading what others post. Usually you will find, however, that there comes a point when you feel you need to respond to someone and that is a big, progressive step which you will appreciate later.

Thank you DATalk and all the members for being so helpful and supportive.

Lyn Ladds

More articles:

Moving People
Motherhood and Depression
Undoing Depression
Choice in Depression: Making Progress
Employment and Depression
Reforming Psychological Therapies in the UK