Group Leader Principles

Group Leaders for ForLikeMinds are in a unique position to stimulate dialogue across relatable topics for group members. These groups provide a structure for sharing perspectives and information based on lived experience that can help members in their recovery and wellness.

There is no one formula for leading your group. However, there are some basic principles and best practices that should clarify and help make the most of your role. Your willingness to organize a group and initiate dialogue among platform members in itself is incredibly valuable.

Basic requests:

Please make every effort to enhance your experience and member engagement. ForLikeMinds provides tools to help Group Leaders manage their groups, but we do not direct their use. Being a Group Leader is an unofficial, voluntary position. As a Group Leader you have the power to remove a topic, post, or member from your group. Please exercise these powers when you become aware that members or content violate our Community Guidelines in a group you lead. Please notify us if you no longer wish to be a Group Leader.

A few useful tips to support you along the way:

  • You may also establish your own Group Guidelines that you feel will further enhance the experience of your group members, provided they do not conflict with our own Community Guidelines, Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  • We suggest using locked and sticky topics to communicate your additional Group Guidelines and to remind members of the Emergency Resources and Community Guidelines available on all group pages. This feature is an effective way to communicate your approach, mission, new initiatives, and notices to the group.
  • Your level of involvement is up to you. Be as hands-on or hand-off as you like. Some groups work well with a very active Group Leader and others with a less active Group Leader. Get a feel for your group and do what feels best. Leading a group often requires an individualized approach that best suits the interests of the group members.
  • Creating groups. Try to keep your groups small and manageable by identifying them with at least two member criteria (“tags”), for example “depression” and “gay”.
    • After you search for members meeting your group criteria, send them a private message inviting them to join your group. Introduce yourself and get to know new members.
  • Share your planned approach with your group members and solicit their feedback. Remind your members of the intended focus and purpose of the group. Remind them that topics not directly related to the group description or tags may be deleted.
    • Periodically check in with individual members for their feedback.
  • Be a thought leader. An effective way to initiate group dialogue is to introduce topics that most group members can relate to. You may pose questions related to the group’s tags and elicit feedback. You may start with an opening statement followed by a question. Examples of these topics may include challenges in family and other relationship, interaction with therapists, and job issues.
  • Do not lecture or try to control group members. The Group Leader’s role is to encourage, structure, and monitor dialogue among members so they help themselves and each other.
  • Monitor content. Try to keep the discussions relevant to the thread and the group interests. Suggest starting a new thread if a new topic is emerging.
  • Removing a member from the board should be the last resort. Remind yourself that the member might be in crisis. Consider if they should be directed to Emergency Resources.
    • If you choose not to remove a user when they first violate guidelines, reach out to them and try to briefly explain why their behavior was inappropriate. Warn them that repeated behavior may lead to expulsion from the group.
  • Implement best practices. Confirm if other groups exist that are similar to yours. Reach out to other Group Leaders to share ideas and best practices for leading groups. We encourage moderators to use and promote the following best practices to keep the forums healthy, safe and respectful:
    • Emergency Situations: Encourage a member to get help immediately if they appear to be experiencing a mental health emergency advise them to use our Emergency Resources. You should also encourage them to contact a qualified health provider, family, friend or other loved one.
    • Focus on shared experience. Members should direct comments from their own perspective and experience, as opposed to expressing judgments or criticism of comments made by other members. They should not try to persuade or advise other members. Members should talk about how they relate to a comment or how they have dealt with an issue raised by another member.
    • Be results-oriented and constructive. Of course, members will share issues and experiences causing them frustration. In those circumstances, it may be helpful to ask the member what they want to achieve or how the group can help to guide the conversation in a constructive direction. Acknowledge a person’s comments or feelings. Express understanding for their situation or issue.

Firsthand knowledge and experience about consumers unmet needs amid the evolving treatment landscape. Providing insights from lived experience expertise to enhance patient treatment outcomes. Understanding patient perspectives when forecasting the impact of new treatment options. Appreciating how patients define recovery for themselves. I look forward to hearing from you.

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