We asked one of our volunteers to share their experiences of being in the peer support team. This volunteer is also one of our Health & Relationship mods.

<P>Firstly, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
<P>I joined TSR in 2011 while I was at university studying nursing, mainly to look at the debate forums as I used to spend a lot of time reading the news. I started posting more in the health forums and eventually got asked if I'd like to apply to be a moderator in health, which I did and I became a mod last April. I was quite surprised at how much goes on behind the scenes on TSR, especially the support given to vulnerable members. After a few months as a mod covering all of health the my section leader asked me if I wanted to do the Samaritans training which I agreed to. I never thought I'd be doing this back when I first joined TSR</P> <P>How long have you been a volunteer?</P>
<P>I did my training last summer and had a probationary period where my messages to people were checked over to make sure they were at the required standard.</P> <P>Why did you decide to become a volunteer?</P> <P>I noticed after a while that it was quite common to come across threads where people sounded quite vulnerable, especially in the mental health section of this site. I wanted to be able to help people and think it helps enhance my role as a moderator for this part of TSR.</P>
<img width="300px" align="right" src="http://s28.postimg.org/cvqyo99l9/Mug_of_Tea.jpg" alt="mug of tea with message keep calm and mod on" style="margin-right: 20px; margin-left: 20px;"></img>
<P>Has your experience lived up to your initial expectations?</P> <P>Yes. It can be quite time consuming composing messages to people, but it's well worth the time taken. These people who we get in touch with can be at the lowest point of their lives and feeling quite helpless, half an hour of my time to make them feel a bit better or get the ball rolling with seeking help is more than worth it. I feel it's one of my more important jobs as a moderator.</P><P>Do you remember the first post you responded to?</P> <P>Sadly, we encounter so many of these sorts of posts and threads I can't. Sometimes we can have several of these posts made by different people a day. I do remember when people reply to me thanking me for the suggestions I've made, which is nice.</P> <P>How do you fit your duties in with a busy lifestyle?</P> <P>With my job I work three days a week and I'm not doing any sort of formal study at the moment, so I have plenty of spare time which is quite often spent on the internet, looking things up to do with my job, browsing on TSR or doing other moderation duties or just generally procrastinating.</P></P>Do you like being a volunteer?</P> <P>I enjoy it in the sense that it's worthwhile. Getting feedback from people lets me know whether I've managed to make a difference or not. If it helps people when they're at the point of causing harm to themselves then I think that's a good thing.</P>