Free chat rooms can be a wonderful resource for people suffering from stress, mental illness, and more. Free chat rooms eliminate the cost that in-person support groups might carry (transportation fees, etc.) and allow users to remain anonymous if they so choose. But how do you find the right chat room? How do you separate the helpful from the spam? In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at a few tips for finding helpful free chat rooms.
1. Be Specific
Being specific about what you’re looking for is the best way to find the right chat room. It’s not enough to say, “I need a mental illness chat room”. There are thousands of mental illness chat rooms available. Think instead of what illness you need to talk about specifically. Do you suffer from depression? BPD? Anxiety? Bipolar disorder?
The more specific you are, the easier it is to weed out spam rooms and other places where you won’t find the right support. If you’re suffering from depression and you join a general mental illness room, you might not feel like anyone hears or understands your struggle because of how many illnesses there are.
Your search engine is your best friend during your search. Make sure you use keywords in our search that apply to your specific needs. Instead of typing “mental health chatroom”, instead type “depression chat room” or “chat room for anxiety”.
2. Use Caution
Of course, any time you’re browsing the web or participating in an online chat room, you’ll want to be cautious. The anonymity of the web is a double-edged sword. You’ll be safer in a way because your information is kept private to other users (unless you share it), but in the same vein, you might not be certain of who you’re talking to. Don’t give out personal information like your real name, your email or phone number, address, etc. This is why many chat rooms allow you to use a screen name. That way, no one will ever know who you are, and your identity is safe.
Don’t ever send money to anyone from a chat room, either. Scammers have all kinds of methods for invoking sympathy and getting what they want. You might meet someone in a depression chat room who brings a sad, believable story to the table and a financial need you want to help cover. It could very well be a scam, or it could not be a scam. The question is…are you willing to gamble?
3. Ask Around
There’s a good chance that someone you know has used online chat rooms before. Maybe a friend or family member also suffers from the same condition or a similar one. You can always ask what chat rooms they used, or about other online resources. A referral from a friend can help you skip the research phase, and you’ll know going in that it’s a legitimate and helpful chat room.
4. Do Your Research
If you don’t know anyone that can help you find a chat room, you’ll have to do your own research. Check review sites for information on the website’s privacy, security, and helpfulness. You don’t want to join a chat room that asks for too much personal information or has a history of scams.
Previous and current users are your best source of information on whether or not the chat room is helpful, truly free, and safe. Don’t be afraid to ask! You can also directly message the site’s moderators to learn more about privacy policies and things like that.
5. Is It Really Free?
Some websites will advertise themselves as “free”, but in reality, they’re only offering a free trial. If you have to put in your credit card information anywhere on the site, it’s not free. Ads can be incredibly misleading, and you might end up signing up for something under the guise of “Free to use”, only to be charged later. The best chat rooms require very little personal information—if any at all. You should be able to create a screen name and just connect.
You can find the most friendly and helpful chat room on the web, but if you don’t use it, what’s the point? The most important factor in your search is your own participation. There are chat rooms available for literally anything you can think of! Don’t be afraid to participate. It can be a little scary to share personal feelings with strangers, but remember—your identity is protected via your screen name.
Chat rooms are a great way to get out some personal feelings without including family or close friends. You’ll get access to a wider community of people, but remember to use caution anytime you’re online. People can hide behind a screen name to protect their malicious intent as well. Use caution, check the sites out first, and participate!