Volunteers’ Week 2022: A Day in the Life of a Waves Volunteer
To celebrate our marvellous team this Volunteers’ Week, we’re sharing A Day in the Life of one of our Waves volunteers.
We hear from Jane Buchanan, a volunteer with Waves – our innovative service for people with a diagnosis, or traits, of Borderline Personality Disorder.
Having been a Cruse Bereavement volunteer for six years, I knew Suffolk Mind and I was ready for a new challenge. Supporting our mental health is very important to me as it can be life-changing, including in my life.
I volunteer on a Wednesday for Ipswich Waves Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), which is a year-long group programme. There are two Ipswich groups, where friendships and bonds are made, the group supports each other, there’s laughter and sometimes tears. It’s a privilege to be accepted as a volunteer, and from my first day the groups have been welcoming and open about their BPD.
No two days are the same. I arrive at 9.30am and after a warm welcome and catch-up, I’m briefed on the day. The group’s morning session is learning about BPD (each week it’s different), how and why we think and feel the way we do and what can be changed. There’s lots of lively discussion and interaction, then a break at 11am and I dash to Costa for a cappuccino before we restart and break for lunch at 12.30pm.
The afternoon session is a creative interpretation around the morning’s topic. We put out art materials and the group’s artwork is powerfully expressive and creative. I may be asked to spend some time on a one-to-one, which is an opportunity for private reflection.
We finish at around 3pm, then we discuss the day and importantly how we’re all feeling. I’m really supported and feel valued by Suffolk Mind. One day, it was suggested that I use my bereavement skills with a member who was stuck in grief. Our talks have hopefully helped her adjust and start to relearn the world without her much-loved grandmother.
Volunteering is so rewarding. From initial contact through to starting, the process has been straightforward, and everyone is positive and responsive. I can highly-recommend Suffolk Mind for learning about proactive steps in our mental health, the group’s life experiences and their stories, and being able to offer support. It’s fulfilling, and I leave at the end of the day already looking forward to next week.
If you’d like to join us as a volunteer, take a look at a list of our current opportunities here.
To find out more about our Waves service, please click here.