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  • Mental Health on Masterpiece

     Fiction Fangirl updated 2 months, 2 weeks ago 10 Members · 15 Posts
  • riva pomerantz

    September 13, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Hello, wonderful women! A gutte voch, shavua tov!

    I want to generate a discussion about a topic that was raised by one of our astute, very loving members. As you know, Masterpiece is a community where we truly care. It is also a place where we share emotions, which are often very raw and very complex. Of course, Masterpiece members want to be there for each other, but in no way is Masterpiece a replacement for proper mental-health treatment, and sometimes we may wonder whether a member is really in trouble. This is the email I received from this member, which I’d like to put out there to you all:

    I recently saw a post written by one of our members and I was concerned for her wellbeing because it was not clear whether she had moved beyond the state of her situation. She hinted that there was more to come in a future piece that was of even greater concern than this one. All the comments from fellow Masterpiece members  were about how wonderful her writing was and it was, in fact, wonderful. No one mentioned anything about the topic about which she  was writing. But it was written in the first person with no context as to whether or not she had already surmounted this nisayon or was currently living it, so I was very concerned about her wellbeing. I know that Masterpiece is a program for writers and of course it makes sense for them to comment on the writing and since it seems as if this was not the first post she had shared about this subject, I imagine that she might have explained already something  like… “this is the story of my journey towards XX” …and included something about where she  is at health-wise now. Or, it could possibly be a cry for help. I do not know which it is.

    May I suggest that you request people to include in any similiar-type posts a note that would accompany each post stating that although the story is written in first person and ends with a crisis cliff-hanger, they are not currently in danger etc. etc. If, in fact,  that is correct. And if, chas v’shalom, it is not, and they need help, to please reach out for it. And perhaps give them suggestions how to do so. I know you want Masterpiece to be a safe place for people to share. I think this idea honors that as well as encourages anyone who needs it to get support and chizuk.

    Let’s talk about this, my friends.

  • riva pomerantz

    September 13, 2020 at 7:53 pm

    Bumping this up, ladies, to be sure you’ve seen it.

  • Brocha

    September 13, 2020 at 8:41 pm


    (nervous swallow)

    Sometimes someone can be going through something and, whether or not she is getting help, she uses her writing as a form of catharsis, you know?

    And. Um. Dare I suggest that she may not want to publicize whether or not this is current…

    How about if concerned parties private message her? Say, “Your piece was so touching. Do you have everything you need?” And then if it’s old, she’ll laugh and say so, but if it’s current she has a way to privately respond.

    Just my humble opinion.

    And my son’s Bar Mitzva is in 2.5 hours and I’m on masterpiece, gosh I’m addicted. Get me help 😉


    • Elisheva Halle

      September 14, 2020 at 2:01 am

      Yes, I agree with Brocha 100%

    • Elisheva Halle

      September 14, 2020 at 2:02 am

      Including about the being addicted to Masterpiece part, LOL.

      And Mazal Tov Brocha!

  • Sherry

    September 13, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    Mazel Tov, Brocha. I hope you’re not actually reading it right now (well the now that’s now now), but still want to give my timely brochos.

    You’re an amazing individual, inspiring mum, and here’s wishing you all the nachas you deserve, and then some! I hardly reply to the beautiful stuff you post, well, you know I’m a fan ;)… still thanks for the inspiration! Each time!

    As for the post above, I agree with every word. PM is probably the best way to go, and I doubt it’s necessary for this thread to continue too much longer. And that’s MHO. 🙂


  • Fiction Fangirl

    September 13, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    So here’s what I’m thinking.

    Writing is a creative craft.  I’m not denying that it can be cathartic.  But I don’t think Masterpiece is a suitable arena to provide a safe space for mental health.

  • HappiWriter

    September 14, 2020 at 12:44 am

    First of all, Mazel Tov, Brocha! May you have lots of nachas!!

    I agree with every word you said.

  • PassionforWriting

    September 14, 2020 at 1:04 am

    Interesting and important discussion!

    I believe that Masterpiece can be a safe space to process emotions (such as the topic called “Processing… I forgot the rest of the words). And, at the same time, Masterpiece should not be held responsible for anything happening, Chas Vshalom. It should be a given that it’s a support, but in no way is it a service for anyone in a mental health crisis.

    Just to be clear, I’m not downplaying anyone’s pain; I myself am on my own journey. But it’s important to keep in mind that as much as Masterpiece supports us, it’s not the place to turn to for real crises. That’s for clinicians and mental health providers.

    And like someone mentioned, if someone does want to post something but it’s very raw and intense, it’s important to note that she’s okay/is getting help and it’s done for the cathartic purpose.

    So that’s my take!

  • Bookworm

    September 14, 2020 at 10:12 am

    Honestly, I have nothing against people who seriously struggle with mental health issues, but they have to get appropriate help AT THE APPROPRIATE PLACE! I am all for it when it comes to giving chizuk and offering help to other people! But I feel that this is slowly turning into a support for mental health struggles group. And I don’t think that this is what Masterpiece is for. We are also not professionals (some are even still young adults btw.) who can say: “Yes, I see you’ve got that problem, got to xyz.”
    Wishing everyone a sweet new year and a Ksiva Vachasima Tova!

  • Brocha

    September 14, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    I don’t know. If someone is posting about her struggle… that doesn’t necessarily mean that THIS is her source of help, you know? The mental health journey is arduous and even with the necessary professional help, the struggling person needs a lot of hand holding. Sometimes she may simply be too embarrassed to ask that of her family and friends from whom she may even want to keep it a secret. And if her masterpiece friends can hold her hands… why not? Granted, that is only sufficient with the aforementioned professional help, which is why in my previous post I suggested private messaging to ascertain that there is some.

    People who are struggling with mental health issues are just… people. And their struggles are just… struggles.

    Would anyone say that people shouldn’t post about their struggle with cancer? Or their struggle with diabetes?

    If, when reading an article on the topic, someone feels uncomfortable or that the whole thing is just too much for her to deal with, she may choose not to respond. And if she feels it’s that inappropriate, she can always report to Riva.

    I’m so sorry for going on and on but I have a 10 year old son with four mental health diagnoses which he received at the tiny age of 7. I really think that mental health struggles are just struggles like any other, but with the added pain of stigma. And if someone in this matzav finds a small measure of relief in writing and posting that is wonderful and completely separate from her journey toward healing.

    If someone’s unsure whether the person is actually getting professional help… well, private messaging is pretty much all you can do. You can lead the horse to water, is all. But any horse would much rather drink with the support of a loving community.

  • riva pomerantz

    September 14, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    Okay, ladies, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to this thread. On Masterpiece, the rules of the game are mutual respect, adherence to proper halacha and hashkafah, and utmost sensitivity. I raised this topic at the repeated request of one of our members, and now it’s time to bring it to some kind of clarity. Here’s my stand on the anonymous OP’s concern about mental health on Masterpiece, which is very much in-line with much of what has been shared above:

    1. Masterpiece is NOT a mental health site. It is not a substitute for therapy and it is not where you go to get help with your issues. Of course, we are not blaming or shaming anyone who needs help with mental health issues, but we want to reserve Masterpiece for another purpose. Masterpiece IS a place where you can share your feelings–the good, the bad, and the raw, and be supported in your creative process. It is a place where you can make friends and develop deep connections with other members, if you so choose.

    2. If a member reading a post is concerned for the individual who posted it, you are encouraged to: a)email me about it at info@rivapomerantz.com and/or b)reach out gently to the member by private message (by clicking on her screen name and sending her a message).

    3. Since we often write about real life and real life is fraught with all kinds of issues, it is very normal that these issues will be talked about on Masterpiece as part of a creative process and journey. A reminderL if you are writing about something that is potentially triggering, please include a trigger alert in the subject line. Of course, your post must be in-line with halacha and within the bounds of accepted Torah hashkafah.

    4. As always, in any post on any thread, if there is ever anything that concerns you about what is posted on Masterpiece, please click “Report” and it will immediately be flagged and investigated.

    And about the addiction to Masterpiece… yeah, it’s hopelessly incurable! 🙂



  • Anagrammer

    September 14, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    I don’t want to sound like I’m just jumping on the bandwagon, but I 100% agree with every word Brocha said. Thanks, Brocha, for laying it down so clearly.

  • Springbird

    September 14, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    At some time or another all human beings deal with challenges ( i.e. all types of loss) that cause mental anguish. Mentally healthy individuals create coping mechanisms to pull themselves out of the resulting anxiety or despair. Some people run five miles, some treat themselves to a latte with caramel cheesecake, and some get lost in a 600 page novel. Many writers deal with their emotional turmoil by putting it down on paper. It’s their way of coping, and if it works for them it is perfectly healthy. No worries.


  • Fiction Fangirl

    September 15, 2020 at 12:58 am

    Thank you Riva for clarifying the concern regarding mental health on Masterpiece as well as laying ground rules for going forward 🙂

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