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.

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?

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.

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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