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  1. #1

    Personals Site for Mentally Ill Adults

    Launch of Online Personals Site for Adults with Mental Illness
    Source: About.com

    White Plains, NY - September 2004 - For the heroic men and women fighting mental illness in this country, NoLongerLonely.Com is filling a need and offering welcome relief with a safe, secure, and free way to find companionship. The billion-dollar online dating industry is finally reaching those who need it most: the mentally ill.

    Webmaster James Leftwich understands the trials and tribulations of managing a mental illness. Since being diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder in 1992, Mr. Leftwich has secured a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree and is now pursuing a career in librarianship. Confident that there were thousands of other such "recoveries" across the United States, Leftwich launched NoLongerLonely.

    According to Mr. Leftwich, "Social isolation is a hallmark symptom of mental illness. The general public is basically indifferent and often hostile to those struggling to re-integrate with society. In my experience, most mentally ill people tend to group together but finding each other often poses a difficult challenge. It is my hope with this website that finding and securing meaningful relationships, whether friendship or romance, will be easier for those who sign up for membership. My goal is to literally make those with mental illness 'No Longer Lonely'."

    NoLongerLonely offers a broad array of features that the larger dating sites have made standard such as anonymous emailing, photo upload, proximity searching, detailed matching criteria, E-mail notifications, a chat room, and a section for members to submit original articles, essays, and artworks.

    Leftwich has made guaranteeing the privacy and anonymity of his users a top priority, "It is understandable that users will be wary of disclosing they have a mental condition. For this reason all contact between users is under the heading of a fictitious username. Their only real identifying mark is their photo if they choose to upload one. It is also important to remember that anyone using the site also has a mental condition."

    Membership at NoLongerLonely is completely free of charge.

    Contact:

    http://www.NoLongerLonely.com
    "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. #2

    Personals Site for Mentally Ill Adults

    What a great site! I thought there was such a dating service in New York but I don't think it is online. A much needed service.

  3. #3

    Personals Site for Mentally Ill Adults

    An interesting and I'm sure well-intentioned concept, BUT...

    "It is also important to remember that anyone using the site also has a mental condition."
    The worry I would have is that this cannot be guaranteed.

    What is to stop someone looking to exploit legitimate members from posing as someone with a mental illness and taking advantage of them?

  4. #4

    Personals Site for Mentally Ill Adults

    That was my immediate reaction, Dr. Baxter. There are, sadly, many people who find it fun to take advantage of others, expecially those they consider weak. This provides them with a very handy hunting ground. It kinda scares me.

  5. #5

    Personals Site for Mentally Ill Adults

    I think relationships are even more valuable to those who have mental illnessess, primarily because stigma prevents them from making contacts with others. It would be much easier to have a realtionship with someone who understands your illness. Using regular dating services would be more difficult because you have to keep your illness hidden.

    With this concept everything is out in the open and people are free to go beyond, what for some people, may be a small part of who they are.

    A good example is someone with a diagnosis of schizophrenia who is very stable on medication and would like to become involved in a relationship. I think we all know how difficult it would be for this person to use a regular dating service.

    Bill McPhee, who is a man with shchizophrenia and created the publishing company and magazine, Schizophrenia Digest, used a mail order bride service to meet his wife. He was very successful but I would consider his success to be quite rare.
    http://www.schizophrenia.com/New/Dec...igestDec02.htm

    There are many other Bill McPhee's who would love the opportunity to be able to enage in relationship activities and I believe this kind of venue allows for that to happen.

    I really wonder if there would be more predators using this service than your regular dating service. I think the benefits out weight the risks and perhaps the risks could be further decreased if other people with the skills and knowledge volunteered to help this guy out to put measures in place that would decrease exploitation.

  6. #6

    Personals Site for Mentally Ill Adults

    I'm certainly not criticizing the concept, HeartArt -- just worrying about safeguards. You're correct when you say that there are probably predators and con men on any dating service but what worries me about that possibility for this one is that it advertizes itself as one where there is probably going to be a greater concentration of potentially vulnerable people.

  7. #7

    Personals Site for Mentally Ill Adults

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    I'm certainly not criticizing the concept, HeartArt -- just worrying about safeguards. You're correct when you say that there are probably predators and con men on any dating service but what worries me about that possibility for this one is that it advertizes itself as one where there is probably going to be a greater concentration of potentially vulnerable people.
    Yes, I understood that.

    I hope the site works out.

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