Stephanie blogs about her experience of volunteering for Mind.
"In the summer, I volunteered just two hours of my time to help with the Mind collection at Waterloo station."
From the initial point of contact with Maria, the Community Fundraising Coordinator at Mind, I was given a real sense of how much my help was appreciated. This sense of enthusiasm was further reinforced on the day as Maria herself was there and helping with the various 2 hour collecting shifts, from 8am – 7pm! Real dedication, especially as she spent part of the day wearing a giant stress ball costume!
As this was my first collection I was slightly wary about the reactions that we might receive from the public. However, our presence seemed to generate a really friendly positive vibe. Lots of people were engaging with us and returning our smiles. Mind’s giant stress ball costume definitely added to the friendly ambience and was quite an attraction for many small children, and many adults too!
From a personal perspective, I have been out of work and studying for the past 8 months with health problems. As a consequence, I have suffered with low mood and anxiety. By volunteering with Mind I was able to be involved in something outside of what has become a restricted social network. It also gave me with a sense of fulfilment and achievement. It was a really enjoyable couple of hours and I met some really great people. It felt great to be helping a charity that supports better mental health, as though my own experience I know how much support is valued and needed.
It was lovely to hear afterwards that we raised over £500, which could keep Minds legal Line helpline open for a day, something really worthwhile for just 2 hours of my time.
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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.