This year, Angelo blogs about the different ways in which Elefriends has supported her.
My eldest son ended his life in March 2013. I am completely devastated and have absolutely no answers whatsoever.. He only told someone in October 2012 of his plan, so he only had a short time under the care of the doctors, child and adult services and also the crisis team. We tried to tell him that we loved him and would be totally lost for ever without him. I came across Elefriends through a link someone posted after I clicked on the Mind Facebook page. I too have suffered with depression in the past and tried several ways to overcome it, including antidepressants and also CBT.
I used Elefriends first of all to see if I could find any answers as to why someone would end their life and I found it difficult to read people’s stories. Elefriends is different to other sites mainly because of the “house rules”, which I think are good and should be used on other social media sites. The Ele handlers are there to keep an eye on what people post, but they can’t always spot something straight away, like inappropriate posts or bad language. However the members (elefriends) can report anything that they see which has upset them. The Ele handlers will take a look and see whether it needs to be removed or not.
Elefriends is somewhat addictive in the sense that you can become familiar with certain elefriends and check in to make sure that they are doing okay. Also it can be upsetting at times - mainly for me because when someone says they are going to end their life in whatever way, all I can think of is that it is probably a cry for help. My son didn’t cry for help - he just did it.
I think I use Elefriends in different ways now than I first did, because now I feel I get support for my own depression and anxiety after losing my boy. I don’t know if I help others, but I try to be honest and kind, and I always report anything that makes me feel really worried.
I have a few years behind me (I’m nearly 50) and I have experienced many things including: weight issues, infertility issues, marriage breakdown, having children, and now grief, so I have lots of experience to share with others who want some support.
Elefriends and the Elephant feel like part of my healing family now and long may it continue to help me and help others with varying mental health, medical and life issues.
Love from Angelo
Please note the Big Give is now over however you can still support Minds work here.