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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » COMMUNITY ANNOUNCEMENTS & HELPS » Site Help and Service » What Scarleteen Can't Do

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Author Topic: What Scarleteen Can't Do
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Just a reminder as we come back after our short break from the boards:

Scarleteen is an organization whose mission is focused on providing information, education and support with sex, sexuality and sexual or romantic relationships.

These are obviously very big topics, and also things that can show up or become issues in parts of our lives like our life at school or work, or in our families. As well, other things can impact all of this, like our mental or physical health, our body image and embodiment, our friendships, and so on.

We love that some of our direct service users feel safe at Scarleteen and feel comfortable coming to us with difficult issues. At the same time, in order to be able to do all we need to do as an organization, and stick primarily to the things we're educated in doing, we do need to make sure to have some limits. As well, obviously we can't possibly do things like provide in-person healthcare, or stand in for a doctor, a social worker or a qualified therapist. Alas, we can't do everything for everyone, even though sometimes we sure wish that we could.

In particular, some biggies that have come up of late that we are NOT capable of doing -- and with some, even if we wanted to, there would be potential legal or ethical issues to us attempting -- are:
• Interpreting clinical test results from tests we did not ourselves administer (and that'll always be none: we don't administer tests or health exams here), or giving other similar medical advice.
• Helping with general, longstanding family abuse or dysfunction beyond referring a user to their local resources for that kind of care and intervention. In some instances, the same may be true with abusive romantic or sexual relationships.
• Advising about mental illness or mental health issues like chronic anxiety or depression or other mood disorders.
• Providing help in a serious, potentially life-threatening emergency or potential emergency, such as a serious injury, suicidal thoughts or attempts or other self-harm.

So, if and when we need to refer you elsewhere, suggest you seek out in-person resources, or voice limits or limitations, we ask that you please understand and accept those circumstances, rather than pushing back against them or arguing -- as has happened sometimes -- that we're capable of or able to do things we know we simply lack the capacity, education or ability to do or do well. Getting on board with what limits we have isn't only about respecting our limits and boundaries as an organization and the people working within it, it's also about doing what you can to serve yourself as well as possible.

Thanks!

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sans
Peer Ambassador
Member # 91788

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I know that I'm one of the people this post is addressing, as I have quite frequently brought up my personal mental health issues here on the boards.

Is it alright though for me to post on these issues if other users are willing to/find it helpful to talk about them? For one, we do have support groups for issues that are not directly related to sex or sex ed. An example would be the thread Peer Support For Depression/Anxiety.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Hey, Sans.

I'd say that we need to aim for a certain equilibrium here, as well as just a mindfulness about the impact some of this will have on all of our users AND the fact that anything on Scarleteen is on Scarleteen and we have to manage it when it is, and assume some level of responsibility when it is.

I'd tend to suggest anyone posting anything here keep in mind that they're in public, and can't know all of who is reading what they say. I know that can be tough, or maybe also sounds silly because you know this is the internet, but things like people saying they are going to kill or harm themselves has an impact on people, and everyone needs to keep that in mind.

I guess the other thing I'd just say about finding the right balance is remembering that there's a difference between therapy and peer support. If you've ever been in a support group -- in person -- versus in one-on-one therapy, that might be more clear. If you haven't, then again, I'd just remind about the impact what we express can have on others (and what frame of mind we're in: after all, not every headspace is a sound one for talking to a big group), especially if and when that's not moderated and they are also struggling as well as trying to seek out the kind of help we really need, and who really is and isn't capable of giving it.

That all came out more vague than I meant it to, in part because this isn't just about any one user (nor just about you), but also because some of this can be tricky. So, if you want to talk more to try and find more clarity on this together, I'm happy to do that.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sans
Peer Ambassador
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I understand the message that you're trying to convey above, but, at the same time, I'm still a little confused as to the exact boundaries that I need to stick to in my posts.

It's true that I am posting all of this in public. However, I just need to differentiate in terms of what I can and cannot post on a sex ed forum such as this one versus a forum that specializes in support for people with serious mental health issues.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I don't know how I feel about trying to set super-clear boundaries for individuals in public posts, for one. That feels....I don't know, I feel like there's a level of overexposing things with people here in doing that I'm not comfortable with. I've left reminders in your thread up until now when I have noticed things that are problematic, and I've felt okay about those in terms of not calling you to the carpet in a way I think might be insensitive.

I also don't want to set a precedent of having to do that for everyone, because we simply don't have that kind of time.

I guess what I'd say, all that and more given, is that it sounds like since you're asking expressly about you, tossing an email to us is probably best, and I just ask that anyone else reading understand that something like this isn't something we'd be able to do for everyone, because we simply lack that kind of staffing and resources.

I would add to that, though, that sites or support forums which are moderated and maintained by fully trained, qualified mental health providers specifically are simply different arenas because they simply have an education we do not, and likely resources (and probably also insurance) we don't. But to my knowledge, places like that are also very few and far between because managing that in a busy space with a lot of people posting to each other strikes me as incredibly difficult, particularly when it comes to making sure everyone's mental health is both in crisis and at risk.

And THAT all said, I do think I can say to you, and feel okay about saying, and to anyone else that someone suffering from serious mental illness or mood disorders -- who is suicidal, in deep depression, with untreated chronic anxiety, etc. -- should be seeing a qualified healthcare provider for those things, and ideally will check in with THEM about posting here and ask for help from them with what's sound and isn't when it comes to public posting, both for oneself and others. I also suspect those healthcare providers would want to know, anyway, about other places their patients are seeking help to make sure it's help that's really serving them and sound for them.

Lastly, anyone with those kinds of levels of crisis or illness certainly are not people ANY online forum, IMO, is going to be able to serve well, and where there are going to be community issues if and when it's treated like one-on-one therapy in any way. So, when -- pardon my french -- shit gets real around that stuff, I really don't think our forum is a sound place to be trying to work a lot of it out, not for that person or for a lot of the people in the community as a whole.

(Again, I'm rambling a bit, I know. It's just that it's tough for me to work some of this out because we have never intended to serve people expressly with general mental illness and mental healthcare, but to provide sex education, information, and moral support around issues about or related to sex, sexuality and sexual relationships. So, in some ways, I feel like I'm being asked to provide guidelines around an area that just isn't meant to be an area here, period, if that makes sense.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sans
Peer Ambassador
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Alright, Heather. I'll email you, then, because I do have some queries expressly related to myself that I want to pose.

I did notice the reminders that you placed in the thread I started, and I've tried to adhere to them. I really apologize if it seems like I've been purposely pushing boundaries or trying your patience, but it's just that, some days, there is no one else I'm comfortable talking to about my issues. I'm aware that you have asked me to call crisis helplines, but I wind up having to explain my history every time I do so in order so that the phone counselor understands what's going on, and I find it really frustrating......nonetheless, I will try harder. I just wanted you to know that I'm not intending or trying to cause trouble for you.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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I certainly didn't think you were.

But am I right that you do have at least one in-person mental healthcare provider you're seeing? If so, have you talked about your needs that aren't being met with what you need per support?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sans
Peer Ambassador
Member # 91788

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I do have at one in-person mental healthcare provider that I'm seeing specifically for my own issues. I've mentioned my need for support in between appointments, but there was nothing that my psychiatrist could do about that save encouraging me to call crisis helplines or to go online to supportive forums.

I can't call and talk to her in between appointments because a) she never picks up the phone and b) she usually gets back to me in the next appointment, which defeats the purpose of calling her in the first place.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Might she be able to recommend any in-person support groups to help fill the gaps?

(I realize I'm continuing this conversation online, so perhaps best to move it to email when I get one from you.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sans
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Re your first comment: I feel bad due to the fact that I sometimes forget that Scarleteen does not cover mental health issues and therefore causing you to have to issue so many reminders to me.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Sans
Peer Ambassador
Member # 91788

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(I sent the email a few minutes ago. Did you receive it?)

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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It's not really about us not covering them, as we cover some, or those issues, when NOT crisis-based or issues that are serious or chronic, are expressly about the topics we are here for.

It's more about us not being a place where a) serious mental healthcare is something we are able to help people with, b) we don't have the resources we'd need to deal with the liability involved, and b) the boards, particularly, are not private one-on-one spaces, but community spaces, so we can't just think of one person with posts, but have to think of the impact on our whole community.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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No, not yet. I will reply when I do.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Sans
Peer Ambassador
Member # 91788

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Should I re-send it? It's been awhile.

--------------------
"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Sans
Peer Ambassador
Member # 91788

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Nevermind, I received your reply.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Just for future reference, "a while" for me with email can easily be days. I get a LOT of email in a day, so even going through it every hour as it comes in can take me some time.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Sans
Peer Ambassador
Member # 91788

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Oops! I should've thought of that, Heather. Understood.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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