When I was interviewed for BBC Radio 4

Cumbrian volunteer, Laura Rutherford, was invited to talk about how she copes with emotionally demanding work at Samaritans, on Radio 4.

Hear about her experiences of being interviewed by the media and access the full interview.

Why I took part on BBC Radio 4's One to One programme

As Samaritans volunteers, we’re used to being an anonymous voice at the end of the phone. This helps us remain focused on callers and their needs but as a result, people learn very little about who we are. By taking part in BBC Radio 4’s One to One programme, I hoped it would give an insight into what it's like to be a listening volunteer.

Support received in preparation for my interview

In preparation for the interview, I had to think a lot about what it meant to be a Samaritan, how I cope with hearing distressing things and my reasons for volunteering. I realised quite quickly, it’s such a big part of my life now and of who I am.

It's difficult to explain why I give up my time to listen to other people's problems. Apart from feeling like I've done something worthwhile, I also rely on listening to keep me grounded and give me perspective on my own life. 

I was keen to talk about the training and debriefing we do at Samaritans, which enables us to better deal with difficult calls. The support we get from our colleagues within the branch is incredibly valuable; without it we wouldn’t be able to help others. It’s similar to when cabin crew ask you to secure your own life jacket before helping others with theirs.

I had a chat with the BBC before the interview, which helped me think about the sorts of questions I would be asked.

I discussed the interview at length with Samaritans’ media team and I was able to meet the programme’s producer, Sarah Blunt, for lunch and Julia Bradbury, the presenter, for coffee beforehand. Both women really put me at ease which helped me when it came to giving my interview.

Looking back...

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and it was nice to gain an insight into the exciting lives of those working in radio and television. I really enjoyed being on air although it felt unusual to be talking about myself instead of doing the listening!

Listen to the full, 15 minute interview with Laura.