Volunteering and peer support
Volunteering is a great way to do something for others and research shows that it benefits people of all ages through increasing feelings of self-esteem, social connection, and wellbeing.1
Here are some ideas for how you can get involved:
- Volunteer for a local community organisation.
- Offer your expertise and support as a mentor for those who are struggling.
- Check in with a neighbour who may be isolated.
- Get involved in a charity which is important to you.
- Involve your friends and neighbours in community projects. You could work together to create a communal garden, or you could start-up a book club.
- Volunteer your help in a crisis. If your community has experienced a bad flood or fire, help with the clean-up.
- Volunteer to help people in need in developing countries, through a well-established organisation. You could teach children in schools or help to build houses and hospitals.
To find out more on volunteering opportunities, check out our suggested organisations here.
When you mentor, listen and support people that you share experiences with, this is a form of peer support. Peer support can take place between colleagues or in self-help groups – anywhere where people meet as equals to give each other support.
Supporting your peers by sharing knowledge, experience and emotional help is incredibly valuable. Peers can speak about what worked for them, talk about coping strategies and provide empathy that people who do not have that direct experience may not be able to.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Mentor younger pupils to help them adjust to a new school or college.
- Help people experiencing mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety through a local charity. Doing so can improve your confidence and self-awareness.
- If you’re managing a long-term condition such as diabetes, join a support group to help others.
- People in later life can become socially isolated and lonely. Joining or helping someone else join a local organisation can build new friendships.
We’ve listed a few organisations here that you can get in touch with to find out more.
More information on volunteering and peer support:
- Get involved at the Mental Health Foundation
- Organisations for information and volunteering opportunities
- Peer support A-Z page
We are the UK charity for everyone's mental health. If you would like to help support our vital work, please consider giving a donation today.
- Brown KM, Hoye R, Nicholson M. Self-Esteem, Self-Efficacy, and Social Connectedness as Mediators of the Relationship Between Volunteering and Well-Being. J Soc Serv Res. 2012;38(4):468–83.