Volunteering with our fundraising team provided Helena with the advice, support and encouragement she needed when she was struggling with her own mental health.
At university, I’d been in a bubble. I hadn’t thought about my future career path at all. When September hit, my bubble burst. I realised I didn’t know what to do. I lost my confidence, withdrew from my friends and in a huge panic, sent out many applications to jobs that asked for a variety of skills I was yet to develop.
The only thing I knew for sure was that I wanted to work for a charity. I’d heard of Mind but had little knowledge of their services so was astounded when I was offered a part-time volunteering role within the Community Fundraising team working on the Crafternoon fundraising campaign.
Initially I wasn’t sure about volunteering as I was desperate to join my peers who had full-time paid jobs. However, I knew I needed to be practical and this role had so many positives and could be a great stepping stone to a career within the non-profit sector.
"The best thing I’ve learnt from working on Crafternoon is that everyone can be creative, including me."
My responsibilities included managing the Crafternoon inbox, Facebook group, supporter courtesy calls, fundraising material requests as well as helping colleagues with administration tasks and organising logistics for supporter thank you event in February 2019.
I developed many transferable skills such as time management, real-life problem solving, database management and working independently. The best thing I’ve learnt about myself from working on Crafternoon is that everyone can be creative in their own way, including me.
After volunteering at Mind for only two months, I enquired about extending my contract which was approved for an additional three months to allow me to learn more about the non-profit sector. In March 2019, I accepted a full-time paid role at a charity in Hertfordshire called Willow as a Community Fundraising Team Assistant.
"Volunteering at Mind provided me with the advice, support and encouragement I needed."
I honestly don’t believe I would have achieved this goal of starting my professional career in the charity-sector within six months of graduating without volunteering at Mind so thank you for this opportunity to develop myself. In its own way, volunteering at Mind provided me with the advice, support and encouragement I needed at a difficult point in my life.
I’m now feeling much better with my own mental health. This is partly due to the wellbeing changes I have made such as social media detoxes and reading more, but also thanks to every single positive person I met at Mind.
"I’m now raising money for Mind, to help everyone else experiencing mental health problems."
I’m now raising money for Mind, to help everyone else experiencing mental health problems, by training for a 10K run at Kew Gardens (my favourite place in the world) in September. After graduating from the Couch to 5K programme a short while ago, I am now one step closer to my new goal.
My advice to anyone who is thinking about volunteering is say YES! I gave up my time to help others and, ended up also helping myself by accepting this role. Thank you once again to everyone at Mind who helped me regain my confidence during the transition from university to a professional career within the charity-sector and Happy Volunteers’ Week!
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Blogs and stories can show that people with mental health problems are cared about, understood and listened to. We can use it to challenge the status quo and change attitudes.