Depression Alliance merged with Mind on 1 August 2016

Depression Alliance created Friends in Need. It’s been running the Friends in Need online community and the wellbeing network for over 2 years.

We have put together some information to help you with any questions you may have about the merger between Depression Alliance and Mind.

We’re Mind, the mental health charity. We provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem. We campaign to improve services, raise awareness and promote understanding. 

Why has Depression Alliance merged with Mind?

Depression Alliance has done an incredible job of supporting people with depression for almost 40 years. Its ambition is to reach everyone affected by depression. As a small charity, Depression Alliance realised it could not achieve this alone. To continue delivering high quality local services, self-help groups and this online community, Depression Alliance has merged with Mind. You can find out more about the merger here: www.mind.org.uk/depressionalliance

Why did Depression Alliance choose Mind to merge with?

Mind and Depression Alliance have a lot in common. We both want to:

  • support everyone with depression
  • give people with depression a voice to raise awareness and reduce stigma
  • and we’re both committed to bringing people with experience of depression together to support each other.

What are the benefits of merging with Mind?

Both organisations have a wealth of strong expertise. Together we can connect more people with personal experience of depression to support each other and encourage their recovery. Coming together makes good business sense – together can we pool resources, meaning we can spend more time and money on supporting people with depression.

Does Mind already have an online community?

Yes, it’s call Elefriends it’s a supportive online community where you can be yourself. It’s developed and managed by Mind, and is open to anyone who’s struggled with their mental health.  

Can I be a part of both communities?

Yes! You’re very welcome to join both Elefriends and Friends in Need. We hear from lots of Friends in Need members who also find Elefriends helpful.

I’m worried about interacting with people with more severe/complex mental health problems.  

Every community will have a different feel, and we all might be more comfortable in some places than others. We know that sometimes it can be particularly helpful to talk to someone with the same diagnosis, or who’s been through something similar. While at other times, it might be helpful to get a different perspective.   With Friends in Need joining Mind, we want to make sure that you still feel just as safe and supported, and that all services will continue with the same quality and values that so many people have come to appreciate over the years. If you are uncomfortable with anything you see in the community, please do raise it with us and we will look into it.  

Will the moderators on Friends in Need be changing?

The Friends in Need team will be working alongside Mind’s Elefriends and peer support teams. There’s lots more we want to do to develop our online communities, and working together will help us to learn more about what is working and not working, and ultimately reach many more people who are struggling with their mental health. We can learn a lot from each other, but we also think that there’s room for difference and we don’t want to lose what’s unique about Friends in Need and Elefriends.

Will the Elefriends team have access to my Friends in Need profile and will you be sharing information/data?  

We won’t use your data for marketing or fundraising purposes without your consent, though we may be in touch with you from time to time with information about the site.        

What will happen if I’m suspended from Elefriends and have a Friends in Need profile (and vice versa)?  

Being part of one community doesn’t affect your access to the other one. If we were worried that accessing the site might put you or others at serious risk, we might get in touch with you about that. Each community has its own house rules or guidelines, and we’ll be guided by those in any moderation decisions.  

Are you planning to close Elefriends or Friends in Need?  

We have no plans to close either community in the foreseeable future. Our focus is on making sure that existing services continue. We recognise that each community has its own distinct feel and we don’t want to lose that.

Will you ever merge the communities?

We have no plans to do so at the moment. We recognise that each community has its own distinct feel and we don’t want to lose that. Online communities change and develop over time, but we would not make any significant changes to either community without talking to our community members first.  

I don’t like Elefriends/ Friends in Need and I’m worried about my community changing

We’re excited about Friends in Need joining Mind. We recognise that the two communities are unique, and we don’t want to lose what’s special about either of them. We also know that change or uncertainty can be worrying, so, as always, we’ll keep you up to date with any ideas we have to develop either of them. If you have any questions or concerns, just let us know.

What is happening to the Friends in Need wellbeing network?

These services are now being looked after by seven local Minds. The services will remain the same and be provided in the same location. You’ll still be supported by your usual Friends in Need Coordinator and can talk to them about Depression Alliances’ merger with Mind. 

What about Depression Alliance self-help groups?

There are 60 Depression Alliance self-help groups operating across England - these are run by dedicated volunteers. The groups will continue as usual with support from national Mind and from local Minds in the same way independent groups across England and Wales are already supported to deliver high quality peer support through the Side by Side peer support programme. You can find a self-help group by visiting www.mind.org.uk/depressionalliance

Who do I contact if I have any questions?  

You can contact the Friends in Need team at friendsinneed@mind.org.uk

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