How to sign up as a young media volunteer
Find out how to become a media volunteer if you're aged 13-17, and what happens when you sign up.
To be a young media volunteer, you need to:
- Be aged 13-17
- Live in England or Wales
- Have experience of a mental health problem
- Be willing to talk about your mental health with the media
- Have your parent or legal guardian's permission
- Be part of Mind's Youth Voice Network
You don’t need to:
- Share anything you don’t want to with the media. If there are specific details about yourself you don’t want to be made public, that’s absolutely fine.
- Have any media experience. Mind’s media team will offer you guidance and support every step of the way.
- Have lots of free time. You can fit media opportunities around your studies and social life.
What happens after I apply?
If your experiences match what we're looking for, we’ll send you and your parent or guardian a consent form. We'll arrange a call with both of you to talk about the role and ask you some questions about your experiences. We'll then work with you to create your volunteer profile.
A volunteer profile includes information about you and your story. We’ll use your profile to match you with media opportunities.
"What I like about media volunteering for Mind is that you’re not a spokesperson reeling off messages for the charity. You just speak about yourself. I have autonomy and independence – and I have their support too. Building a trusting relationship with someone in the media team has really helped me to feel more comfortable during interviews."
Media volunteer Haleem spoke to ITV about how the pandemic impacted his mental health.
Ready to sign up?
Ready to become a young media volunteer? Make sure you've signed up to our Youth Voice Network first.
Once you've signed up there, click the button below to fill out a form to be a young media volunteer – it should only take a few minutes. Then, one of the team will be in touch.
Ready to sign up?
It's great that you're interested in becoming a young media volunteer. We’re afraid we don't have any openings for new volunteers at the moment.
But when there are, we’ll advertise them through the Youth Voice Network. If you’re not already a member of the network, why not see if you'd like to join?
How will I find out about media opportunities?
If an opportunity comes up which we think might suit you, we’ll send the journalist an anonymous version of your profile. If they want to speak to you, we’ll get in touch with you and your parent or guardian.
You can always choose which opportunities you want to do, and how much you’d like to share about yourself and your experiences.
What support does Mind offer?
We’ll support you every step of the way. Our priority is that you feel comfortable and happy with everything.
Leading up to the opportunity
- We’ll speak to the media organisation for you. We’ll organise everything with the journalist or producer. This includes asking any questions you might have, letting them know about any topics you don’t want to discuss, and any reasonable adjustments you have.
- We’ll let you know what to expect. If you’re doing an interview, we’ll tell you the likely questions and share our interview tips. If you’d find it helpful, we can try to arrange a practice interview with you. You might want to read our information on how to prepare for a media interview.
- You can change your mind. If you no longer want to take part, or your availability changes, that’s completely fine – but please let us know. We might be able to adjust the opportunity, offer extra support, or find another way for you to get involved which feels more comfortable.
During the opportunity
- You don’t have to do it alone. If you’re under 16, your parent, legal guardian or another trusted adult will need to come with you to all media opportunities. We’ll always try to come along too. If we can’t make it, we’ll be on the phone to guide you through the process. If you’re over 16, you might be able do some interviews alone – but only if you and your parent or guardian are happy with that.
- You can stop at any time. If you need to take a break or stop an interview, you’ll have our full support. You don’t have to explain why to the journalist – we can speak to them for you. Your wellbeing is our number one priority.
After the opportunity
- We'll debrief. Once you’ve finished the opportunity, we’ll call to check how it went and ask if you have any feedback, questions or concerns.
- We’ll keep you updated. We’ll tell you when it’ll be published or broadcast. If you have questions, concerns, or you’re unhappy with the way your story has been reported, please let us know. We can speak to the media outlet about this for you.
- We can help you find mental health support. If you need support for your mental health at any point, we’ll do our best to help you find it. We might recommend one of our helplines, local Mind services or share useful resources.
If you have any questions, check out our FAQs below. If you'd like to speak to someone, email the Youth Voice Network team at [email protected]
We can’t guarantee when or how many media opportunities we’ll contact you about. This is because most media opportunities come up when journalists ask us for an interview with someone. These can be infrequent and we’ll only contact you if your experiences match what the journalist is looking for.
If you haven’t heard from us in a while or you’re looking for other ways you can support Mind between media opportunities, please email us at [email protected]
This is because we want to make sure you feel safe and supported as a volunteer. When you sign up, you’ll be put in touch with a member of staff in the Youth Voice Network who can offer support and answer any questions you might have.
We also need to collect consent from your parent or legal guardian and your demographic details. These will be stored securely, following data protection laws.
As you’re younger than 18, we’ll need to ask the person responsible for your safety for consent. This is because they have a responsibility to know what you're doing and to ensure you're safe while doing it.
We want to make sure that they’re happy with us talking to you about your experiences and any media opportunities we might offer you.
Your parent or legal guardian can find out more about how they can give consent, and how they’ll be involved, on our page for parents and caregivers.
Your parent or legal caregiver will need to approve your media volunteer profile. We'll have a discussion with you about your experiences of mental health problems, and we'll write your profile from that.
We have a responsibility to make sure they’re happy with what you share with us, and potentially the media, to keep you safe and support you.
If you share something with us which makes us significantly concerned for your or someone else’s safety, we might ask if you’re happy for us to share our concerns with them.
If you tell us something which makes us concerned that you or someone else could be at risk of significant harm, we’ll need to do something about this.
This might involve us sharing what you've told us with other organisations, like the local council or social services. We’ll always do our best to talk to you about this, before we share what has been said. And involve you in any decisions that are made about what happens next.
Yes. If you want to update or remove information from your volunteer profile, please email [email protected].
If your contact information changes, please let us know as soon as you can.
You can! These can be great roles to add. If you need help summarising the roles on your CV or on an application, please email [email protected]. We’ll always try our best to help.
Usually, journalists will want to include your name and sometimes a photo of you.
Sometimes you’ll be able to share your story anonymously. If we know you want to be anonymous, we’ll only approach you if that’s possible. This might reduce the number of opportunities we’re able to offer.
We won’t ever share your name or photo with the media without you and your parent or caregiver’s consent.
Yes. We’ll always cover your expenses and expenses for any adults who come with you. This will always include travel expenses, and sometimes meal and accommodation expenses too.
No. You'll never be expected to do a media opportunity alone. If you’re under 16, your parent, caregiver or another trusted adult must come with you to all media opportunities. We’ll always try to come along too. If we can’t make it, we'll be on the phone to guide you through the process.
If you’re over 16, you might be able do some phone or video interviews alone – but only if you and your parent or caregiver are happy with that.
Once your interview is published, the media outlet might want to share it in another way. For example, if you do a TV interview, your quotes could be used in an online article, on the radio, or they could share a link to the piece on their social media.
We’ll usually know about this in advance, so in most cases we’ll be able to let you know how they’d like to share your story.
Please let us know as soon as you can so that we can speak to the journalist. Sometimes online articles can be edited.
TV, radio and print interviews usually can’t be changed once they’ve been published or aired. Most broadcast interviews – except for documentaries – are usually only available for 30 days, if not less.
The same goes for interviews in print. Especially national newspapers, as new issues are published almost every day.
When media volunteers speak out, they help to raise awareness, reduce stigma and change lives. The public response to our volunteer’s stories is usually extremely positive – we know that many people feel less alone or seek support for the first time after hearing them.
But it’s important for you to think about how the people you know might react too – and how you might feel about that
Please let us know if you’re worried about someone’s response. We might be able to offer advice or change your media opportunity to help you feel more comfortable.
You might also find it helpful to read our information on how to deal with stigma.
If you’re not sure what the requirements are to be a media volunteer, you'll find them at the top of this page.
If we can’t sign you up, there are lots of other ways you can get involved in Mind’s work through our Youth Voice Network.
By joining the Youth Voice Network, you’ll be offered a range of ways to get involved and shape our work in England and Wales.
We want to hear from young people with and without personal experience of having mental health problems. You just need to be between 11 and 24 and be ready to make a difference.
If you want some time off, or if you or your caregiver change your mind about you being a media volunteer, that's okay.
Let us know by emailing [email protected]
If you would like to rejoin at any time, you’re always welcome! We just need your parent or legal guardian’s consent.