Rest Ministries, a Christian non-profit organization for people who live with chronic illness or pain, was recently featured as "one of the organizations doing it right" by Jenni Prokopy who spoke a the SXSWinteractive technology conference.
San Diego, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 03/31/2011 -- Rest Ministries, a Christian non-profit organization for people who live with chronic illness or pain, has had a website since 1996 and was recently included as an example of some healthcare social networks doing their work well . Founded by Lisa Copen, 42, who has lived with rheumatoid arthritis for eighteen years, their health social network is called "The Sunroom" and it was recently featured as "one of the organizations doing it right" by Jenni Prokopy who spoke a the SXSWinteractive technology conference. Her presentation was called, "Health Communities: Superheroes Who Need a Justice League."
Prokopy says, "Lisa's work, like that of so many others, has a profound impact on thousands of people."
Copen began Rest Ministries when she found a lack of resources or support networks for those who were chronically ill yet still believed in the healing power of God. "We believe God still heals," Copen explains. "But healings seem to be on God's schedule, not our fast-paced timeline. Rest Ministries provides support and friendships while one is living with illness or chronic pains. I was honored that Jenni wanted to include a faith-based health organization in her presentation.“
You can listen to Prokopy's presentation online here: http://schedule.sxsw.com/events/event_IAP7498 .
Questions Prokopy asked include what do we do when health social networking sites have a member who may be suicidal? Are we equipped to help and can we legally do so? What do we do when people sign up for a group and then leave because they are not getting the support they needed--which was more than the social network was created to meet? What social network tools can we benefit from?
Prokopy purposes a resource that helps founders of the largest to the smallest health and illness-related social networks make these tough choices, support one another, and create guidelines to be followed. "After my presentation I learned the room was-capacity and they had to turn people away!” says, Prokopy. “While I hate to hear that some folks missed it, I'm glad to know the demand for health technology conversations is so high at SXSWinteractive."
“Social networking and health forums can be a vital connection for the nearly 1 in 2 people who live with chronic illness,” says Copen. Various studies have reported that physical illness or uncontrollable physical pain are major factors in up to 70% of suicides (1) and more than 50% of these suicidal patients were under 35 years of age (2).
"The internet is a source of not only information, but inspiration," says Copen. "Rest Ministries Sunroom has over 2500 members and each day someone writes how our health and Christian social networking site has 'saved his or her life.' We cannot underestimate the value of encouragement, support, and faith-based understanding when it comes to chronic pains."
Both Lisa Copen and Jenni Prokopy are speakers as well as the women behind the computer screens of their social networks. You can find out more about their speaking, writing, and consulting services as http://LisaCopen.com and http://www.JenniProkopy.com .
To connect with others who live with chronic illness at Rest Ministries visit the Sunroom at http://RestMinistriesSunroom.com .
(1) Mackenzie TB, Popkin MK: "Suicide in the medical patient.". Intl J Psych in Med 17:3-22, 1987
(2) Michalon M: La psychiatrie de consultation-liaison: une etude prospective en milieu hospitalier general. Can J Psychiatry (In French) 38:168-174,1993