Shift.ms is a social network where recently diagnosed MSers can ask questions, share experiences and meet others in similar situations. Our community is a safe, non-judgemental place where people can ﬁnd out more about adjusting to life with MS. We facilitate conversations between members of the community, and our MS Reporters videos allow the community to put their questions to leading healthcare professionals.
“When I was first diagnosed, I was scared and felt alone, as I didn’t know anyone else who had MS, and knew very little about it. Shift.ms gave me somewhere to connect with other people, and to helped to show me that I’m not the only one going through these things.” – Melissa, MSer
Shift.ms was launched in 2009 by George Pepper and his friends, following George’s diagnosis with MS at the age of 22. MS is the most commonly diagnosed neurological condition in people in their 20s and 30s in the UK. Despite this, George found it difficult to find other MSers of his age, even online. This frustration led him to set up a website, where MSers could meet and share experiences.
We’re a registered UK charity (number 1117194).
Our community is built around the following outcomes:
- Reducing isolation, anxiety and depression
- Coming to terms with your diagnosis and adapting to a life with MS
- Increasing knowledge and confidence to make positive choices about your health, lifestyle and future
To make a practical difference, we aim to reach new MSers as soon as possible after their diagnosis. In just eight years the membership has grown to nearly 12,000 members. A service evaluation by the Tavistock Institute showed that 75% of Shift.ms members reported beneficial impacts in coping with their condition or getting on with their lives.
Our services and tools to support MSers are all online and accessible to everyone. Increasing emphasis is being placed on self-management by people with chronic health problems, and there is growing interest among policy makers and medical professionals in the role that online support can play in this process. We work with MSers and leading healthcare professionals, clinicians and the NHS to deliver this support, and we are funded by the Wellcome Trust and Nomimet Trust, amongst others.
As a community of MSers, we know the debilitating effects that a diagnosis of MS can have on people. We also know that peer-support, from people with knowledge gained through their own experience, is of vital importance.
“It’s cool to see a lot of different people with the same thing – you feel much less isolated, you realise other people are doing amazing things and it’s not like life ends now.” – Polly, MSer