Become a volunteer
If you have experienced struggles with mental health and feel you are in strong place to help others who are fighting, please be in touch. You will need to:
- Be strongly committed to helping others
- Have experienced mental health issues in order to relate to those seeking help
- Be willing to talk about your own experiences
Talking about your struggles is hard, and we therefore only accept volunteers who can be candid about their experiences and willing to devote time to helping this cause.
This isn't for everyone, so we urge you to think carefully about volunteering. Don't feel bad if you can't, like I said, talking about this is tough, we totally get it. You can always help in other ways, so if you have an idea for fundraising or have suggestions for the website please be in touch!
Hi there, my name is Becca and I’m a volunteer for MY BLACK DOG. I’ve had personal experiences with mental illness from about the age of 14, and have been diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder. I used to suffer from Anorexia and Bulimia, but when I realised I was bisexual, it helped me to overcome this - when I saw beauty in other women of different shapes and sizes, I managed to finally see it in myself too. I have volunteered with MY BLACK DOG because I am passionate about supporting people, and about reducing the stigma attached with mental illness. I want people to know that there are people here who want to listen, and that you’re not alone.
Hello, my name is Demelza and I’m a volunteer for MY BLACK DOG. In 2016 I reached breaking point on my mental health which had in hindsight been building up for several years. The dam broke and I experienced a major depressive episode, suicidal thoughts and was offered voluntary sectioning. After a few years of therapy, medication and slowly rebuilding my life and health I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as an underlying condition. Today I am happy, healthy and managing my condition well. I have a really fun and full life whilst also having found a new found empathy for and understanding of the struggles that we all face at some point in our lives. Although the more “formal” therapies undoubtedly helped me get to where I am today as part of the overall mix, I can also unequivocally say that talking to and feeling heard by friends, and also at times complete strangers who just “got” mental health, along the way was a massive contributor to my recovery. Of the many things that mental illness can make you feel, it can make you feel very alone, when actually it is one of the most universal human experiences and there are so many people out there who feel just like you. I joined My Black Dog as a volunteer because I wanted to return the gift that other people had given me of just listening, not judging and supporting me in my recovery.
I have struggled with anxiety since my teens. The overbearing sense of worry and fear, like something bad is going to happen. My heart would start to race and my breathing would become rapid. My anxiety has and always be a burden, but I am beginning to control it. Sometimes it comes out of nowhere and can really affect social situations. At the age of 19, I also had my first experience of depression. To begin with, it was intermittent and I thought I could deal with it alone until it took a hold of me and wouldn't let me go. I was easily irritated and would isolate in my room and find solace in the feeling of emptiness that ate me from the inside. Depression was my only companion and it felt like it would last for an eternity. I broke my silence when I spoke to a counsellor at university and it felt so good to talk about my feelings and the thoughts of wanting to go to sleep and never waking up. That moment marked the first step in my recovery. After speaking to my GP and talking to a therapist I began to cut the ties with my black dog. Sometimes it pops back up and visits me, especially during the Coronavirus lockdown, but now I have the tools and the people around me to drag myself out of the darkness when I feel myself slipping.
Volunteering for MBD:
My whole journey with My Black Dog has been outstanding. I began in January and was one of the first volunteers to join the team and I don't plan on leaving anytime soon! Aside from the wholesome feeling of helping others, the experience has also helped me too. It reminds me that I am NEVER alone when it comes to mental health and the people who we speak to inspire us to continue volunteering. For most of the people we speak to, we may be the first person they have spoken to about their mental health and we all know how hard that first step is and their strength is inspiring. The team is absolutely fantastic too. Niki is so supportive and understanding of all of us and is always checking in on how we are doing and it's amazing to have that support. The volunteers are great too. I think of us as a community as we talk to each other both during and outside of operating hours. Our experience of mental illness creates a bond between us and we can rely on each other when times are tough. If you are thinking of volunteering with My Black Dog, I couldn't recommend it enough!
Hi, my name is Richard and I'm a volunteer for MY BLACK DOG.About 4 years ago after two major personal incidents, I was diagnosed withdepression and anxiety and went through some dark times and went to some verydark places. After trials with multiple medications and face to face counsellingI found help with online chat therapy which was amazing for someone who isn'tbrilliant in social situations. I now manage my conditions with a combinationof exercise, mediation and journaling which all work great for me. For themajority of my adult life I looked at people with mental health issues with ajudgemental eye. It wasn't until I had mental health issues of my own that Iwas able to understand and empathise. I believe greatly that connecting withpeople who have been through similar experiences to yourself is of hugebenefit. This is my main reason for joining My Black Dog.