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Old 21-05-2008, 08:41 AM   #1
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Tips & Tricks for Giving Support at RYL.



Last edited by Snow White. : 21-05-2008 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 21-05-2008, 08:43 AM   #2
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Posting Links to Useful Content / Information on Threads.

The How:


Familiarise yourself with the various articles on the main site. These can be found in a variety of different places. Once you know what there is available to use, then you're more equipped for helping other people on the Forum - and it might even increase your knowledge of the different topics by giving them a quick read through!

Then, read the threads and pick what articles would be appropriate, for example, if you're reading a thread where someone is asking about wanting to tell friends/family about their SI then you might want to link them to some information that would guide them in doing so. However, it's important to remember that this is only beneficial to the thread-starter if the articles you refer them to are appropriate to their problem.

This can either be done by simply posting the link into your reply (bearing in mind this will only link to the article if you use the long reply method, as the quick reply means the thread-starter will have to copy and paste the link into the address bar), or you can hyper link (as in the contents).

This is done by writing the title of the article out, i.e. "Do You Want To Tell Your Parents?" [link] - including [link] at the end or not - and then clicking the "Insert E-mail or URL Hyper link" button in the long reply options - the button looks like this: and then copying and pasting the article's address into the appropriate field. By clicking "OK", you'll notice that your article's title will have turned a different colour from the rest of your reply and, once you've posted the reply onto the thread, will link the thread-starter straight to the intended article.

The Why:

The reason this is such a positive thing to do at RYL is because there is such a wide variety of useful articles and information on the main site that just isn't being used at the moment because a large percentage of people don't realise that it's there. As a result, lots of people are missing out on such a huge range of resource and support that RYL has to offer.

Not only are you bridging the gap between the Forum and the main site, you're providing the thread-starter with a large range of information and advice that will only further the support your reply provides and, as a result, helping them with their problem to a much higher degree. By extending the amount of resource they have to refer to, then the more they're going to understand their problem or how to deal with it and, therefore, the more they're likely to trust the advice you've given and then proceed to apply some of what you've suggested in an attempt to improve their situation.

Originally Posted by Belle/Emma.
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Old 21-05-2008, 08:46 AM   #3
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How to reply to even the most impossible problems & posts.

The How:


There will always be a post now and again that seems almost impossible to reply to, and this is usually because it's a complicated situation, or because there are lots of issues that the poster is dealing with and, although you'd like to reply and give your support, you just don't know where to start. In an aim to combat this problem, a few things you may want to consider whilst replying, are:

- Read through the post properly. The best way to tackle anything difficult is to evaluate the situation fully before you begin, to avoid confusion and be more prepared for your task. If there's a long, detailed post with a variety of problems and concerns then reading it through properly to begin with will ensure that you have as full an understanding of what the poster is asking/wanting/whatever as possible and, as a result, be more able to give appropriate advice and support.

- Pick out the main point(s)/problem(s). Most likely, the more difficult posts will be quite long and full of background information and details of the problem in hand but not all of it will always be relevant whilst you're replying and so, whilst you're reading it through thoroughly, take a mental note of the main point(s) or problem(s) that you feel you can reply to. As a result, your reply will be more specific and to-the-point and probably won't take you as long to write!

- Use links on the main site. It's something that can benefit the thread-starter so much and definitely something you should consider when replying as it increases the amount of advice and support that you're providing. It's perfectly understandable that not everyone will always know what to say in reply to some problems and that is what these articles are for and by showing them to the people that need them the most in this way is only helping other members gain the maximum help from RYL and its resources.

- Share experiences. You may not know how to solve someone's problems but that doesn't mean that you cannot help. Sometimes just letting the poster know that you can empathise with what they're saying and how they're feeling, or have been through something similar to what they're experiencing can be extremely helpful and make them feel less alone, isolated and as though no one understands what they're going through. Something that RYL promotes strongly is the the idea that "You're not alone any more..." and so just because you cannot give them advice on how to fix their problems, just letting them know you understand can be a huge help.

- What would you do? There are few members on this site that are mental health professionals, or have qualifications on how best to deal with eating disorders, depression and the various other issues that members may be struggling to cope with, but what most members have that most people in "real life" don't have is experience. You may have been in a similar position and so you have a better understanding of what does and doesn't work than others and it's important that you share this experience and knowledge, which is one of the best things about RYL. You don't have to advise the same way the professionals would or suggest things that professionals would; you can simply say what did and didn't work for you, and how you personally overcame the problem the poster is finding it hard to deal with. So, whilst replying, ask yourself - what would I do in this situation? and then share your thoughts and opinions on how the poster could deal with their problem.

- Ask questions if you're not sure about something. The more you know about someone and the situation they're in then the more you're able to help them and so it's important to ask questions if you feel it could help you to help the thread-starter a little bit more. When someone is feeling so desperate for support they're bound to miss out some of the finer details and information, but that doesn't mean, when you're trying to reply to these threads, you cannot ask. An added bonus is that by asking questions, you're letting the thread-starter know that you are interested in them and that you do genuinely want to help.

- Remember that you don't have to address every single problem. As I've already said, you won't know the answers to everything but that doesn't mean you cannot reply. If there's one thing amongst twenty that you feel you could help the thread-starter with, then post it! Don't feel as though you have to cover everything or write a twenty-page reply - just do what you can, because anything is better than nothing at all.

The Why:


A large percentage of RYL'ers know what it's like to spend a long time writing a post and then not receiving any replies, and how awful and neglected that can make you feel when other posts around you are getting replied to with no problem whatsoever. It's important that no member here at RYL feels ignored or as though they cannot be helped, which is a very common assumption when you've posted about a large amount of issues or an extremely complex situation and no one feels able to or doesn't seem to want to reply. By just taking ten minutes out of your day to read through a post like this and reply, you're giving the thread-starter hope and, more obviously, offering them some support and information and giving them an insight into how much support and help RYL and its members have to offer.

By picking out these more complex posts and replying to them, the amount of support at RYL becomes more constant overall because there isn't a gap in the help that's being provided due to the fact that the posts are then being replied to, whereas before they would not have been replied to.

Originally Posted by Emma/Belle.
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Old 21-05-2008, 08:47 AM   #4
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Upholding the 5 Replies Rule.

The How


Simply go to any forum and check for threads that have received less than 5 replies, and reply!The best forums to start with are those that really need replies, like Introductions, Serious Discussion, or any of the Support and Advice Forums.

Often the threads might be hard to reply to - if you are having trouble then take a look at the "How to Reply to Any Post" thread in this forum.

The Why

Posting something on any forum and getting few or no replies is the worst feeling in the world - and something we have all felt at one time or another. It should be our goal at RYL to eliminate that feeling of being left out. If every thread ever posted on RYL looking for replies never gets less than 5 then that would be a great thing indeed. The average number of replies per thread on RYL is very high for a forum - around 9 replies per threads across the forums, but it is the few that get left out that are the problem, and one that is easily solved if members just keep an eye out for threads that need replies.

It is an easy, quick way to make someone's day when they need it most. It also means that when you have a thread with not enough replies - someone will come and return the favour. :)

Originally Posted by Emma/Belle.
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Last edited by Snow White. : 21-05-2008 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 21-05-2008, 08:49 AM   #5
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The 5 Replies Rule - Version Two.

The How:


This is different from "Upholding the "5 Replies" Rule" in that you post five times for every reply you receive for a post of your own. As with Version 1, the best places to start replying are the Support and Advice Forums and the Introductions Board as those are the Boards that are most in need of replies and attention.

The Why:

I often see people around the Support and Advice Forums in particular thanking other people for replying and wondering how they can give back the same support and help that they've received, and this is the perfect way to do it; you simply have to say to yourself that for every reply you receive you're going to reply to five others. That way, you are giving something back and if you follow "Upholding the "5 Replies" Rule" then you're doing two things at once - replying to the less replied to threads and making yourself feel more worthy of the support you've received yourself. It increases reply-rate and is such a simple way to make someone feel better.

Originally Posted by Emma/Belle.
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Last edited by Snow White. : 21-05-2008 at 09:01 AM.
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Old 21-05-2008, 08:52 AM   #6
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Sending a "Check-Up" PM.

The How

Many people often post threads when they are struggling with a particular issue in their lives - often one that is troubling them greatly. People reply, the points in the thread are satisfied (hopefully) and that person is given some advice that is useful to them. Of course that is a best case scenario, and it is highly unlikely that someone who has posted in great distress one day, will be just fine about it the next.

But there is a really simple and quick way of really making someone's day. If you see a thread, or are involved in a thread where you think the person could use it - send them a Private Message the day after, or the day after that, to ask them how the problem has developed, and whether or not they are okay now, and if they need someone to bounce stuff off further, that they can.

The Why

Plainly and simply - this is something that has a huge impact on the person you send the PM to. It is so amazing to have someone who seems to have no reason to care, caring - that it can have a profound effect.

It is very quick to do - and is also very good from your side too. You get a boost in the feel good department for doing something genuinely lovely - and when you get the response, you will receive a great deal of gratitude and an opening for a friendship.

Helping others out, with these quick little suggestions is the very best way to make friends, and ultimately 'succeed' at RYL. Through all my time here at RYL since day one - I have seen those who give the most... get the most back.

Originally Posted by Emma/Belle.
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Old 21-05-2008, 08:53 AM   #7
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Becoming an RYL Supporter.

The How


Many members at RYL go through a cycle of being helped by the site, and then wanting to come back and give something back in return. In quitting any form of self-harm - you pick up highly useful insights into how to advise others to do the same.

Becoming a supporter is a big commitment - but is not a permanent position, you can come and help for a month when you have time, then not when you do not. However there is of course a big responsibility with talking to others - in that you must be sensible, mature, and never encourage them or anything like that (obviously).

Because of this - there is a process of 'vetting' those who join this system. They must be established, active members known to the community and to the administration team. They must have proved themselves as seriously helpful to others before they apply - and must be able to come and be on line a fair amount, most preferably daily.

Because the system is designed only so that people have someone to talk to, member to member - you do not have to be a counsellor to join the support department, but you should know a fair bit about self-harm, and preferably have quit yourself.

If you want to be considered for the position of supporter, know someone who you want to nominate, or want to know more information of what it takes - please get in touch with Chloe (klo_flo), as the head of the support department, or Lindsay (one_step_closer) as the deputy head supporter.

The Why

The support department is used by members who badly need someone to talk to - and is a huge help to many people each and every day. To provide effective coverage and enough manpower, both for the email and live assistance systems, it is vital that those members who are naturally very keen to help others, are given the tools they need to do that in the best way possible.

Being a supporter is almost without doubt the most direct way of helping others - you are able to be there for people who have expressed a definite need for a shoulder to cry on.

While it is not easy sometimes being there when someone needs you that badly - there are few things in the world that generate more self worth than working on the support team because you are directly changing lives.

All staff are sourced now from promotions, and almost all staff are first promoted from the support department. So, if you are interested in being a part of the RYL team, being a supporter is the first step on the ladder (and if you are really good, can be a short step).

Originally Posted by Emma/Belle.
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