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/ Media and Policy / Blog / January 2019 / Volunteering to overcome mental health issues

Volunteering to overcome mental health issues

21 January 2019
In the week that starts with ‘Blue Monday’, widely known as the most miserable day of the year, we are looking at ways that volunteering can make you feel good. Here three Shaw Trust volunteers tell us how they experience greater wellbeing as a result of giving their time.
 
Rebecca, Abbie and Caitlin, each seeking opportunities to gain valuable experience and improve their CVs, have all volunteered at Shaw Trust’s shop in Galashiels. However, they have found volunteering has helped them in more ways than they initially expected.

After her daughter turned five and started school, Rebecca felt that she needed to further develop her skills and become more comfortable in a working environment.

"I just needed some help and experience and a confidence boost because I was quite unsure about the working environment itself so I just thought I would try out volunteering a few hours just to see how I got on."
Volunteering with Shaw Trust allowed Rebecca to work on her confidence and helped her to cope with some mental health problems she was struggling with as well.

“From 2016, I had really bad depression, I mean I’ve had it this was bad, I had bad depression and anxiety and I wouldn’t really leave my house. I wouldn’t even leave the house to go get some milk by myself. Last year when I came out of that and that’s what made me want to come into the shop as well, so it helped with my anxiety.

“They’ve just helped me grow my confidence because I was quite unsure of tasks, like pricing things and the . The managers just build you up and help you out. I’ve got quite a lot of anxiety about how people see me and they were just all really nice and welcoming.”

Abbie, who started volunteering for Shaw Trust to help improve her employability, found that helping out in the shop also helped with her problems with depression and anxiety.



"Before I was just sitting in the house all day and now, I’m actually coming here and I’m with people and talking to customers and it’s just built my confidence and my communication skills.
‘I feel good because I’ve done my bit for the community."

Volunteering with Shaw Trust has also helped Caitlin, who has mild learning disabilities and depression and anxiety, to become happier and improve her confidence.

‘I here for a year now and it’s been amazing. Being here has boosted my confidence. Lorna, the manager, has noticed that in the last year, she’s said to me since I’ve been working on the till I’ve been speaking to people and having more confidence in myself. Obviously with anxiety and still always going to be being here helps dampen it a little bit. It does make me happier working here.’
Caitlin also feels that the support she has had from those at Shaw Trust has helped her to have a positive volunteering experience and has left her feeling positive about what she could achieve in the future.

"Volunteering here, everyone is so nice, we’re all like one big family and we all just hold each other together. "Just because you’ve got a disability it shouldn’t stop you from being who you are and what you can do. You can do anything if you put your mind to it."
 
Start your year positively by volunteering with us. Register your interest here (opens in a new tab or window).
 
 
 

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