Online health and support communities are not new. In fact, MedHelp.org has been in existence for almost two decades providing a place to meet others to talk about a multitude of health care issues. It’s reach extends past all borders and we have people from different continents coming together to help support one another. We’ve had millions of users talk to one another about everything under the sun, gaining and giving knowledge and support, building camaraderie around their health care needs. While it feels good, is there more value to this online forum connection than that? Yes is the answer to that important question.
Online health communities provide a venue for anyone, anywhere to anonymously ask a query regarding the sacred topic of their health. Different things factor into their need to do so via a website, whether it is their location, having less access to health care and education, not having a supportive structure of family and friends, socio-economic constraints or a feeling of shame or embarrassment in seeking help for their problem. Frankly, a lot of people feel alone. With a site like MedHelp, they never have to be.
The Mayo Clinic states that “a support group among people with shared experiences may function as a bridge between medical and emotional needs.” They go on to say that online support groups or any support group can improve outcome for patients.
In a study on online health forums, the idea that there is patient expertise is presented. After all, patients helping other patients makes sense since they have become experts in managing the condition on a daily basis themselves. This same study dug deep at the idea of one factor that greatly improves online health communities and that is professional moderation. “Researchers found that good leadership and effective moderation play critical roles in the success of these communities.” MedHelp has a staff of professional moderators to maintain it’s safe and medically-accurate environment.
What about the other side? Volunteering your time to answer questions, connect and befriend others in an online health care forum environment? This is good for you too!
Volunteering can improve mental health and help you live longer, according to a new study. A systemic review and meta-analysis led by researchers at University of Exeter Medial School of England found that volunteers reported lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced well-being.
Volunteering time no matter the amount of time, big or small, in a health community sharing your knowledge, experiences, empathy, friendship and support is a great way to reap that gratifying experience we get from being needed, doing good and connecting ourselves. Health care professionals often recommend this for the improvement of one’s mental health and lift mood.
In all these years, the original mission of MedHelp has not been lost. We want to connect people to talk about their health. People crave the human element or feeling involved with managing their health care and we provide that.
We provide private messaging, notes, a place to journal either privately or publicly, friend requests and a friends feed to help with the social aspect to an online community that often develops. We are happy to support these relationships in any way we can. We also have over 200 health care forums to post questions and receive answers.
Please visit our communities https://www.medhelp.org/forums/list