Help us to be there to support mental wellbeing
Suffolk Mind has been celebrating the hard work of its volunteers at an event in Ipswich, during national Volunteer Week.
The charity held an afternoon tea event – with scones freshly baked by chief executive, Jon Neal – at Quay Place on Monday 4th June, to reward those who give up their time to help with making Suffolk the best place in the world for talking about and taking care of mental health.
Suffolk Mind currently has 82 volunteers taking part in 16 different roles across the charity from administration to helping with children’s activities. In addition there are eight people who donate their time to be trustees. The estimated value of volunteers helping UK charities is £22.6bn.
Volunteering enables people to meet the key physical and emotional needs that must be met in order to stay at the wellbeing end of the mental health continuum. It gives people a sense of Achievement, Community, and Meaning & Purpose. The need for Achievement is met by learning new skills and becoming competent in our work, hobbies and relationships. Having a sense of Meaning & Purpose allows us to cope with suffering and keep going when life becomes difficult and stressful. Community, and feeling that we are connected both to other people and wider society, is vital for emotional health and wellbeing.
One in four of us will experience a mental health problem in our lifetime, and meeting your emotional and physical needs, in the form of volunteering is vital to some.
Andrew Brown, 54, has been volunteering for Suffolk Mind for a year. He said: “I was unemployed, and with poor physical health which then impacted on my mental health, I didn’t feel I could get a full-time job. I felt that being in a modern-day, pressured working environment would be too stressful. However, I joined Suffolk Mind because I wanted to be part of something and to contribute in some way.”
He continued: “A year down the line, I have gained more confidence and I am able to manage stress more effectively. I am much happier now and have a much more possible outlook on life”.
96% of Suffolk Mind volunteers who responded to our survey said that volunteering at the charity had a positive impact on them personally and 87% said it had a positive impact on them professionally.
Volunteer Manager, Corrina Hanley said: “Our volunteers give their time, energy and compassion to help people improve their mental wellbeing. We would not be able to reach out to so many people without the help of our team of dedicated volunteers. Whether it be helping us behind the scenes or direct with service users, every role and volunteer is helping Suffolk Mind reach its goal.”