Sunday, 15 March 2015

Mental Health and The Voluntary Sector

The voluntary sector is undoubtedly a big and important sector where so many worthwhile and diverse roles can be sought. Whether it is assisting in a charity shop or being a befriender to the elderly or being an activist in mental health campaigning, among many others.

I think it is well-known that the army of volunteers in the UK, in their respective roles save the country millions of pounds every year.

In my experience, this sector does not judge or comment about people who have “issues” as much as some other areas do. Another important difference in the voluntary sector is that you may not feel under the same “pressure” that you have in paid employment. A committed attitude is a useful trait to have, though I believe everyone cannot go into “one box” as some high-powered people would have you believe, erroneously.

Watching a debate on Mental Health in Parliament recently, it was good to hear that at least some MPs in Westminster think that those with mental health problems can benefit the community, of which volunteering is one possible avenue.

It is my belief that if you go into volunteering, then you can make a difference. And there are those that are suffering that want to contribute to their local area, and the sense of purpose they get, can in turn in time help them to feel better about their own lives, as well as themselves as people. Give it a go!

Blog written by Scott W (@ScottMHC14)  

Scott’s Blog:

Volunteers (A Poem)

They work with the worth of their actions
Changing circumstance, giving chances

Achievement unfurls

- Yet there is little announcement. 

Often in silence, unheard, yet enchanting

The vantage of change
We see so often advancing.

We accredit it to adjectives ‘magic’

Or chance or even in fear
But they are the ones often there without asking

-  The volunteers. 

I think that Scott has written such an inspiring article, highlighting both the importance of the voluntary sector in supporting people and in turn needing that support itself. With Comic Relief approaching, in this light, I think it makes it all the more evident that not only contributing to charity economically is important, but time and effort are perhaps two of the greatest things you can give. Some of the greatest acts of charity I have experienced are on what would be termed a ‘voluntary’ basis. For example, some of the greatest support I have received at times of crisis is through the work of volunteers – such as The Samaritans. It is encouragement to keep going in itself in that every day, people give their time, effort and integrity not for money but for the love of others. It so very much encourages me to do the same. 

Poem “Volunteers” & Comment written by Emily Oldfield (@EmilyvOldfield )  

This is the second joint article in the series, co-written by Emily O & Scott W.
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