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House rules

Welcome to Elefriends. The Ele - your host - hopes you'll feel safe and at home here. He's put together a few tips to help you get settled in. He'll also explain what you can expect of the Ele and his handlers, as well as your fellow elefriends.

Elefriends will:

  • Offer as well as receive support – we all need a helping hand from time to time
  • Treat others the way we would like to be treated
  • Respect each other's privacy and keep conversations between elefriends within the Ele community
  • Be considerate of other elefriends - don't make comments about other Eles on the wall
  • It can be hard supporting other elefriends. Be kind to yourself and see our tips on what to do if you're worried about another elefriend.
  • Give other members of the herd space when they ask for it
  • Let the Ele know if we see something that worries us by reporting a post or private message
  • Think about what you're comfortable sharing – elefriends like hearing how you're doing, but sharing too much can leave you feeling vulnerable. You can remove posts or private messages you don't want to see.
  • Use the community safely, and reach out for offline support if you think you might need more urgent help. If you're not feeling safe contact the Samaritans (116 123 /, call 999 or go to your nearest A&E department. The 'I need help' icon at the top of the page can also help you to explore your options.

Elefriends won't:

  • Tell people what to do or give 'expert' advice – there's rarely one answer to a problem
  • Use Elefriends to promote commercial services
  • Use animated images or GIFs which could cause visual disturbances.
  • Post anything which is racist, homophobic, sexist or transphobic, personally abusive or dismissive about peoples experiences or specific mental health conditions. They will also not talk about other users behaviour on the main wall.
  • Share personal contact details (this includes links to Facebook or other social media profiles)
  • Elefriends will avoid posting graphic description or images, or detail about methods or plans. It's ok though to share thoughts and feelings around self harm and suicide. Read Time to Changes guidance on posting safely.
  • Post about other Elefriends on the wall.
  • Post swearing or offensive language even if censored (including swearing through images).
  • It's ok to share thoughts and feelings about food, eating and drinking. But please avoid numbers of calories, measurements, amounts of food eaten, images of weight loss or detail about methods of gaining or losing weight. The Ele finds this guidance from Time to Change useful.
  • We know a lot of elefriends might struggle with issues such as addiction or alcohol abuse. It's fine to seek support, but please do avoid specifics about quantities or details about illegal drug use
  • Post sexual content or innuendo - this kind of content can be unsafe or upsetting for other elefriends. This includes images and profile pictures.
  • Post or share images about things that could be upsetting for others, for example details of abuse, violence, self harm, or suicide plans.
  • Use private messages inappropriately- eg sharing sexual content, soliciting for personal details, or sharing suicidal plans. It's also best not to offer crisis support via private messaging- remember to take care of your own mind first, and you can report worrying PMs to the Ele.
  • Using private messages inappropriately can mean we need to suspend your account.

The Elephant and his handlers will:

  • Respect your confidentiality. What you share here is between you and Mind. We would only tell someone else (for example, by calling 999) if you were at risk of serious harm and shared your name and location with us, or if someone else was at risk of serious harm. You can find out more about when we might need to pass information on in our Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Review all reports and private messages sent to the Ele's inbox, and do what we can to help
  • Where possible, read all posts and comments, and remove anything which breaks the house rules or leaves the community feeling unsafe. We may give you feedback to help you post safely
  • There are times when posts don't explicitly break the house rules but might be extreme in nature e.g expressing suicidal thoughts in a way that pushes the capacity of a peer-to-peer support community. In these cases we will always let the user know this is happening and offer support through private messages. In some cases, if users are unable to take on this feedback we may have to withdraw access to the account.
  • Do our best to resolve any technical problems as quickly as possible
  • Take the safety of the community seriously; this means that sometimes users may be temporarily or permanently suspended. The handlers treat each situation on a case by case basis, and will try their best to communicate their reasons for withdrawing access to the site, either temporarily or permanently.

The Elephant and his handlers won't:

  • Trample on your conversations - the Ele and his handlers may need to pop in from time to time, but this is your space to talk about what's on your mind. Private messages stay private, unless the handlers are concerned about an Ele, or something had been reported directly to them. At this point our handlers may need to read private messages in order to investigate the situation further.
  • Pass on your details or use your information for anything else unless we have your permission. We may contact the emergency services if you tell us that you're unsafe, and give us enough details to locate you
  • Be able to respond to reports or messages from 2am-6am, when we're not moderating.