End the stigma the VM way

If I said to you that as a child I had suicidal thoughts would you believe me?

To some my journey/life has been 1 big perception of ‘WOW’; you’ve achieved so much, but this has come at a price.

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Do you ever know the full story?

We’re all built and think differently and with it being ‘World Mental Health Day’ last week, I don’t think it’s discussed as much in terms of Volunteer Management.

I think we have to start with, how do we even bring up the topic? How would you bring up the topic?

I wouldn’t.

Volunteering to me is about giving your time to help others, not be ransacked about your health. This is our way to end the stigma.

When I meet potential volunteers, the standard questions of;

  • Why would you like to volunteer?
  • Availability
  • Skills and development they’d like

The list goes on, but how would you feel if you were asked about mental health during the initial meeting?

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You’re already putting barriers in engaging potential volunteers

Too personal and disengagement could happen.

During my last role, leading a small team of supported volunteers, I didn’t know about their mental health straight away and I never asked. The volunteers told me in time.

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Meet them half way

Did this change how I interacted with them? Why would it?

It’s a characteristic of the individual and only, and I say only when they asked for additional support, it was given.

Volunteering is a great opportunity to give society a chance in life and in other sectors and at times employment, mental health is seen as a hindrance to someone’s capabilities.

I see it as someone that’s lived life and why do we need to look into this?

You tell me…

‘Do volunteer managers have a case when approaching someone about their mental health?’ or ‘Do we build the rapport and let the individuals take control of their experience?’

 

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