Everyone in your group will have a username that they use when they are sending messages. This may be their real name or they may choose a different name so people don’t know who they are. This means that you will not know everyone personally, but you will still send messages to everyone and treat them equally. They will also be given the choice to put a password on their phone to stop other people reading the messages they get from the support group if they want to make sure their participation stays anonymous.
Being anonymous is a good thing because it allows people to be free and not feel embarrassed about what they are saying. Anonymity can be a problem if it leads to people hiding or even being abusive to others because nobody knows who they are. If there is someone in your group who is not being fair to the other participants, and who is staying anonymous so that they can send rude or negative messages, then you have the power to stop them. We hope this won’t happen, but if it does, then as a mentor you must speak to the individual person and explain to them how their behavior is affecting others.
You can also ask people to contact you – in private – if they are upset or confused by someone else in the groups’ messages. If you are at all worried about how to handle someone who might be being difficult in the group, you can always get in touch with your designated Project Coordinator to discuss further how to handle the situation.