Volunteering with a Mental Health issue

“I started volunteering at a point where I was really struggling with anxiety.

Just sending an email to ask about the role was out of my comfort zone, and I remember sitting in the introduction session feeling excited, but really scared. When I went through my interview, I let the interviewer know about my mental health issues, and they were really supportive – my own experiences have made me want to help other people, and that was understood.

The training covered everything I needed to know, and the trainers were happy to answer my questions. It was much easier than I expected to start volunteering, and someone was there to support me every step of the way.

As someone who has struggled with mental health issues, it felt natural to connect and build a rapport with the people we work with. I don’t talk about my own feelings with service users – our work is about them, not me – but my experiences have broadened my understanding and made me a more empathetic person.

For me, volunteering has made a huge difference. It’s so rewarding to know that you’re making a difference and helping people has boosted my own confidence. These days, it’s much easier to pick up the phone and to go after something that I want. My friends say I’ve really come out of my shell – and I’ve even got work in the voluntary sector as a result.”

Bristol Mind values our volunteers and all of the experiences that they bring to the organisation, and strives to make sure that our volunteering opportunities are accessible, supportive, and rewarding to people from all walks of life. If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering, please visit www.bristolmind.org.uk/volunteering.