I'm a Peer Support Volunteer, AMA! Watch

shadowdweller
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#21
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#21
(Original post by Notoriety)
What's the average delay between a thread being moved to the PSV bit of the site and the people in need getting a PSV response? Do you have a specified response time you have to meet?
Currently upto 24 hours as we're all volunteers with full-time work or university. However, as soon as a thread is moved over to the PSV area the user will receive an automated PM with details for Nightline and Samaritans, so they do also get told their thread was removed and given some information on who is best placed for them to talk to immediately.

Urgent notifications are dealt with much faster, as we prioritise those, and generally someone is available to pick them up quickly.
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shadowdweller
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#22
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#22
(Original post by quasa)
a lot of health professionals (including myself) are woefully underprepared when dealing with people presenting with self-harm / suicidal thoughts. my question is, do you know of where someone could get training to provide more support to people presenting with the above?
It depends to what capacity you're looking for really. If you want training on a workplace level, Samaritans offer in-house training, as a for instance, and Mind offers something similar.

Mind also offers individual courses, though I believe these incur a cost. If you're looking for something free, I'd suggest reading up on any conditions or behaviours you come across most often. Mind has a number of resources around different MH conditions, as well as suggestions for friends/family on how to support someone with them, which will have some transferable skills for healthcare professionals, at least in my view.

I hope that helps? If you need anything more specific, let me know and I'll see what I can do
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shadowdweller
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#23
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#23
(Original post by tesconyc)
you probably know this. why do people self harm do they enjoy the pain?
I think this question is too unique to individuals and their circumstances to have an objective answer - sorry to not be of more help here
Last edited by shadowdweller; 1 week ago
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Decahedron
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#24
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#24
(Original post by tesconyc)
you probably know this. why do people self harm do they enjoy the pain?
The science behind the reason it can feel good is that when the body is in pain it releases dopamine. This is a chemical that among other things gives us the feeling of happiness. This can become particularly addictive to someone experiencing low mood as they perceive it to be alleviating their mood in the short term.

There are other reasons why one might do it but I'm not sure this is the place to discuss it.
Last edited by Interrobang; 1 week ago
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hmmmmmmmm1
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#25
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#25
why do volunteers need a CRB check if they're not meeting anyone physically?
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Kindred
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#26
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#26
(Original post by hmmmmmmmm1)
why do volunteers need a CRB check if they're not meeting anyone physically?
Since we're talking to young and potentially vulnerable people we need to know that the whole team is trustworthy (and TSR needs to show that they've done what they can to safeguard users on the more official side of things). I can't imagine why somebody would want to do it, but it would be possible for somebody in a position like this to groom somebody, give harmful advice etc. We do select our team carefully and since we're using the TSR site all of what we say to users can be checked by either the rest of the PSV team team or the CT so we're doing other things to ensure users are safeguarded against any potential mean person, but it's that extra layer to ensure there's no skeletons in closets that could put users at risk.
I guess the phrase better safe than sorry applies well here. Our team are wonderful caring people, but since we are dealing with some pretty important stuff it's good to be as sure as we can be (and again there's that whole business side of things where TSR needs to have evidence so checks are good for that).
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hmmmmmmmm1
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#27
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#27
I understand but I could give advice and I don't need a CRB check?
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Kindred
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#28
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#28
(Original post by StrawberryDreams)
What made you decide to become a Peer Support Volunteer?
For me it's cos I had mental health issues myself and know how helpful something like this can be. I didn't know what was going on, if it was something I could get support for or how. I came across TSR somehow and the advice and support I got here helped me to find "real world" support and eventually get better. I don't know where I would be now if it wasn't for that and I'm so thankful for it.
The idea that maybe I could help save somebody from even a couple of days of suffering by helping them to find support is honestly a pretty big deal and I guess gives a bit of a silver lining to my own suffering.
Plus I get some extra letters under my username so that's cool. :P
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04MR17
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#29
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#29
(Original post by hmmmmmmmm1)
I understand but I could give advice and I don't need a CRB check?
Since posts about suicide and self harm are removed from public viewing, you probably wouldn't have opportunity to do so in the same way as the PSVs. You can still give advice on thousands of other topics discussed all the time on TSR though (see here).
Last edited by 04MR17; 1 week ago
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Kindred
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#30
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#30
(Original post by hmmmmmmmm1)
I understand but I could give advice and I don't need a CRB check?
It's just an extra layer of safeguarding since we're talking to vulnerable users and are in a bit of a position of responsibility. We can't make all our users get dbs checks so we have moderators and a report system so if people do give bad advice or say nasty things we can step in. Since we (ST and PSV) are the people moderating and also having more private contact with users it's just good to make sure that we are checked to be extra sure we aren't going to abuse that position. It's also just how things like this work on an official level. Weather in person or not we are in some level of responsibility relating to young or vulnerable people and TSR has an obligation to make sure we aren't going to abuse that. DBS checking is just a part of that.
Basically you are giving advice as an individual, but we are giving advice as an extention to TSR and that holds some extra responsibility and formalities which a DBS check helps with.

I hope that makes sense
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Deyesy
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#31
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#31
(Original post by hmmmmmmmm1)
why do volunteers need a CRB check if they're not meeting anyone physically?
But we're still talking to vulnerable people (and a lot of the time young people) in an official role on TSR. The Samaritans, Childline etc., will all DBS check their volunteers even though the advice they give is over the phone/online too.

(Original post by tesconyc)
you probably know this. why do people self harm do they enjoy the pain?
Speaking from my own personal experience, people tend to self-harm as a coping mechanism. They self-harm as a way of coping with how they're feeling, almost as a way of staying alive? I don't know if that makes sense?

It was difficult to word this whilst staying within our community guidelines
Last edited by Deyesy; 1 week ago
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Notnek
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#32
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#32
Could the stiuation occur where you may contact an authority (or get someone to make the call) if you feel someone is in immediate danger for example? Or is PSV help restricted to anonymous guidance, whatever the situation?
Last edited by Notnek; 1 week ago
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Deyesy
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#33
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#33
(Original post by Notnek)
Could the stiuation occur where you may contact an authority if you feel someone is in immediate danger for example? Or is PSV help restricted to anonymous guidance, whatever the situation?
We're an anonymous service - much like Nightline in that respect, so we wouldn't contact an authority if someone's in immediate danger. All we can do is signpost and strongly suggest they ring 999 immediately and hope they do so.

It can be difficult but we do have to be mentally prepared for the worse to happen. That's why the support network we have both on and off TSR is vitally important
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Notnek
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#34
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#34
I often see PSV posts that I suspect are made by trolls. Do you treat all posts the same even if you suspect trolling? Are troll posts disruptive to the PSV team or are there too few of them?
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Interrobang
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#35
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#35
(Original post by Notnek)
I often see PSV posts that I suspect are made by trolls. Do you treat all posts the same even if you suspect trolling? Are troll posts disruptive to the PSV team or are there too few of them?
The CT may do an IP check to see if a user is a likely troll, but generally we treat any PSV-type post seriously, as it's better to be safe than sorry. We may never know if some posts are trolls, if we don't get a reply from the user
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Kindred
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#36
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#36
(Original post by Notnek)
I often see PSV posts that I suspect are made by trolls. Do you treat all posts the same even if you suspect trolling? Are troll posts disruptive to the PSV team or are there too few of them?
There are some posts that are hard to tell if they are real, exaggerated or outright trolls. Partially I think it's always hard to tell since it's somebody else's experiences and they can often seem alien or unrealistic cos they aren't something you can identify with also I think sometimes people won't share the full story (totally understandable) so that can makes things seem unrealistic because we don't get that background stuff that's affecting things.
Since we can't know if a post is legitimate or not we always try to play it safe and respond as if it is legitimate even if it seems unrealistic. Sometimes that also means we end up responding to passing comments or slang when it wasn't meant in a serious way because we would rather sound silly by responding to something like that than end up missing a serious comment because we think it sounds like a joke or passing comment.

If a post is a troll post then it will have a negative effect because it means we're spending time on that instead of serious posts and that can delay our responses and mean a user is left waiting and potentially feeling a bit abandoned. I like to think we don't get too many actual trolls, but I have no idea really.
Also on a more personal note we are human volunteers. We do this cos we want to but it does take time and energy. That's totally worth it if it helps somebody, but it would kinda suck if we wasted that time and energy on a proper troll. I'd rather respond to 20 trolls than miss a genuinely troubled user though.

We do try to apply some logic to things and adapt our responses a bit based on the situation so for example if we see what seems absolutely like a troll or just slang as l well as a more concerning post we would try to respond to the more concerning one first. And if we come across a post that seems like a joke we might put in a comment that addresses the fact we could be totally off base.
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Kindred
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#37
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#37
(Original post by Notnek)
Could the stiuation occur where you may contact an authority (or get someone to make the call) if you feel someone is in immediate danger for example? Or is PSV help restricted to anonymous guidance, whatever the situation?
Like Deyesy said we are an anonymous service so can't and won't report things to anything off site except if somebody asked us to (like we could call 999 for them if they don't have a phone). We wouldn't have any of their info unless they gave it to us though.
Posted on the TSR App. Download from Apple or Google Play
Last edited by Kindred; 1 week ago
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shadowdweller
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#38
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#38
Some fab questions so far! Does anyone else have anything they'd like to ask?
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Notnek
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#39
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#39
What’s the trickiest situation that you’ve had to deal with?

I thought I’d ask this since it’s an AMA but I understand if this kind of thing has to be kept private.

EDIT: From the responses, a better question would have been, "what kind of situations do you find tricky to deal with".
Last edited by Notnek; 1 week ago
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shadowdweller
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#40
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#40
(Original post by Notnek)
What’s the trickiest situation that you’ve had to deal with?

I thought I’d ask this since it’s an AMA but I understand if this kind of thing has to be kept private.
I think for the sake of keeping things general, the most difficult situations for me are where we have repeated PSV posts coming from the same user; it's really tricky when we've offered as much support as we can, and they're clearly having such a tough time with things. I think it's one of the times that the role can be really challenging, for sure.
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