The Sue Ryder Online Community provides support to anybody who is caring for a loved one at the end of their life and to anybody in need of bereavement support. This is your community. To help keep it as an inclusive and safe place for support and discussion, we ask that all of our users agree to and follow these guidelines. Please remember that each time you use the community, you’re agreeing to what’s laid out here so you should make sure that you understand this fully.

How we moderate

We have a team of moderators who ensure that the community is a safe and friendly place to get the support you need. The community is normally moderated 8pm-10pm daily and 9am-5pm Monday to Friday and we endeavour to help out as quickly as we possibly can.

Any posts that we feel are inappropriate will be removed and we will always contact users with an explanation should we need to do this. Anybody who spams the community with either sales, unrelated or offensive materials will be banned from the community – however we will always see this as a last resort and will give notice where possible.

Report inappropriate posts

If you come across a post that you feel infringes our guidelines please do not respond to the post - often people who post offensive material are looking for a reaction. Simply use the “Flag” button at the foot of any post and we will take any necessary action. Your help with moderating can make this community even more helpful to everyone who wants to use it.

Being supportive

Many people using the community are going through difficult times. Please be supportive and understanding and welcome new joiners. Please don’t post any content that treats anyone unfairly because of their sex, sexual orientation, race, illness, religion, disability, marital status, family circumstance or age; or anything that is threatening, obscene or in any way offensive. Please do not swear at people or use terms that people find offensive.

It’s always a good idea to re-read what you write before you post – and if you’re unsure about how something may be received, it’s often best not to post it. We are always available to offer help here where needed. We don’t approve posts before they go live. This is why we ask that you take responsibility for your own postings, and to help us by reporting anything you don’t think should be here.

Keeping the community useful

Conversations on any community can be wide-ranging. To make it easier for people to know what your post is about, always give it an informative title to give people a clue about what you’re talking about or would like support with. We may sometimes move a post to a more appropriate section of the community so that people going through a similar experience or who can provide support will be able to easily find it. If we do this we will leave a link behind so that you are able to find it.

If you post something that is completely unrelated to the purpose of the community, we may remove it. There is a general chat section in the community for you to use to share other stories and also get to know people you meet online.

If we notice that people are interested in a particular area or subject we can create a new section of the site to cater for this. We’re open to suggestions too, so you can always contact us if you feel the need. If you can’t find the correct place for your post you can post it in general chat and we will find an appropriate board to move it to.

Typing in CAPITAL LETTERS or using text speak can make posts difficult to read, sound like shouting or cause offense through misunderstanding something.

Sue Ryder is a UK-based charity. We welcome people from all countries to post on the Online Community, but please post in English as we are unable to moderate in other languages.

It’s always worth having a read of what’s on the community before posting too – you might find someone has already asked the same questions that you could find helpful.

Surveys and research

Sometimes people use communities to do audience research or get people to take part in surveys. This can be really helpful, but we ask that anyone wishing to use the community for this purpose must contact us first and not post without our permission.

The Sue Ryder team

Some of the Sue Ryder team are part of this community, including the community manager, moderators and health and social care staff. They have a wealth of experience supporting people with terminal illness, end of life and bereavement. They will reply to posts with information and support where appropriate. They cannot provide medical or clinical advice and you should always contact your GP or healthcare team if you need this kind of help. They will aim to reply as soon as possible but are not online 24/7. If you need to speak to someone urgently, please contact The Samaritans on 116 123 or jo@samaritans.org.

Our resources page has more information about services that offer immediate support.

The Online Community Mentors

You may notice some users have a blue ‘Mentor’ badge under their username. These are people who have been using the site for a while, who’ve volunteered to make an extra effort to make sure that new users feel welcome, that everyone gets a reply, and that the site is a safe and supportive place. They are ordinary users who have their own personal experience of bereavement. They don’t work for Sue Ryder and they can’t moderate or delete posts.

Private messages

We allow private messages on this community so that users can get in touch with each other. You can message individual and multiple users at the same time. Again, remember never to give away personal information through these messages and you should abide by all the community guidelines when communicating privately. Abuse of the messaging system could result in a temporary or permanent ban on the site, however we will always look to having a conversation with you before taking any such action. We do not actively monitor or moderate private messages unless we are alerted to a message that violates our community guidelines.

Our community does allow you to turn off private messages if you do not wish to use them and you can also choose whether to receive email notifications when you are sent a new message. Please do respect the privacy of other members when using them, and remember that everyone here is probably experiencing a difficult time themselves. Also be careful about what personal information (for example, your phone number or home address) you share through private messages too and, if in doubt, it’s best not to share personal information at all. If anyone encounters problems with private messaging, please report the matter to online.community@sueryder.org or by using the flag button under the message.

Medical advice

We are not able to offer medical or clinical advice through our community, and recommend that you don’t share specific medical information either. What’s right for one person won’t always be right for another, and this can be particularly dangerous as it won’t be possible to know someone’s background or past experiences. You should always seek medical advice from your GP, healthcare team or NHS Choices before acting on anything medical that you might read anywhere online.

We feel very strongly about this and believe it’s an extremely important rule to keep in mind as it’ll help protect you, your loved ones and Sue Ryder too. We’ll remove any posts that we deem to be offering medical advice, but will offer an explanation to you should this happen. NHS Choices is an excellent resource for help and advice, and contacting NHS 111 can prove helpful when you want to speak to someone about medical issues too.

Your safety

You should always keep your username and password secure and never share these – or any other person details – on the community. If you ever have any problems accessing the community just email online.community@sueryder.org or give us a ring on 020 7554 5942.

Remember this is a public community

The community is public and it’s not necessary to become a member in order to read posts. Please be careful with your personal information and be mindful of sharing information or photos that may identify you.

Don’t use your email address as your username and do not post your contact details on the community (we will remove them) - and of course please do not share anyone else’s personal information.

Think about your safety if you ever arrange to meet people you have met on any online community and if you are doing this, always tell someone else about your plans.

Suicide and self-harm

All mentions of intention to die by suicide, assisted suicide or self-harm, or methods of suicide will be removed from the community. Expressions of thoughts and feelings about these issues are allowed.

We will do our best to signpost anyone at risk of harm to the right support, and, in high risk situations, information may be shared with our health and social care staff or the emergency services. For legal reasons, we will keep confidential records of safeguarding incidents.

If you are worried about another member of the Community, please contact our community team immediately at online.community@sueryder.org. It is not your responsibility to offer counselling. Please refer anyone you’re concerned about to The Samaritans on 116 123. We take any messages like this very seriously and will offer members guidance to appropriate support and advice.

Age limit

For the protection and safety of children, this community does not support members under the age of 18. There are some excellent places where young people can get support online - Hope Again, run by Cruse Bereavement Care is a good place to start.

Your data and what you share

By registering to use this community, you’re agreeing to us storing the details you provide. We will not pass on or sell your name or email address to anyone. When joining you have the choice of opting in to receive notifications from the community when someone replies to one of your forum messages or if you receive a private message. You can unsubscribe or change your notification preferences at any time. You also have the choice of opting in to receive a weekly round-up of all new posts in the community and wider news about Sue Ryder and the work we do (again, you can change your mind about this at any time). If you have any questions about this, or want to stop receiving communications from us, please get in touch. You can also read Sue Ryder’s wider Privacy Policy.

To help others and make this community and our information as helpful as possible, we will sometimes use what’s written on our community to help us market our work and promote what we do to other people. We’ll always do this anonymously, removing any names or identifiable details from what we use. Please contact your Community Manager if you’ve got any questions about this.