Volunteer for Mental Health
If you have experienced struggles with mental health, feel you are in strong place to help others who are fighting, and you want to volunteer with a unique mental health charity, please get 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 completely candid about their experiences, and are willing to devote their time to helping our 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.
Help those who need Someone to Talk to
If you feel volunteering isn't for you, but you'd like to help in other ways, here are some things you can help with:
- Fundraising > Want to run, roll, walk a marathon for us? Fancy a bake sale? Have something we can auction? Perfect, we're always happy to hear fundraising ideas.
- Special skills > Are you good with PR? Are you good at writing grant applications? Perhaps you know how to produce a podcast? Any and all help is much appreciated, we're always looking for talent to drive the charity forward.
- Blog and articles > Want to share your experiences by contributing to our blog? Great! We'd love to hear from you.
I’ve been struggling with my mental health since the passing of my Mum, I lost her 13 days before my 10th birthday. Ever since I lost her I’ve felt many mixed emotions that I still don’t understand which has lead me to some dark places even from a young age. I struggle to reach out for support to people I know due to getting hurt by loved ones in the past which still affects me today due to the trauma they caused me. I was diagnosed with ASD and an eating disorder when I was sectioned at hospital in 2014. I’ve always felt alone due to my ASD and passing of my Mum that made me feel no one understood me which made me have dark thoughts. Dealing with these low thoughts and hurt/pain does make me feel lonely, isolated, trapped, angry, confused, anxious and many other feelings which is why I reach out for support to people who understand how I feel to ease the hurt and pain. To be heard and not to be made to feel alone or ashamed of how I feel. My Black Dog makes me feel like I do matter and I do deserve to be heard and supported.
I struggled with alcohol and overdoing on prescribed medication because I take it to ease the emotional pain and hurt which is really difficult for me to cope with daily alone. But since I’ve been volunteering for My Black Dog, meeting a bunch of lovely people, it’s made me feel I’m not alone anymore. Reaching out for support, talking to volunteers, I do find it easier to express my feelings. If it weren’t for these lovely people, I’m unsure if I’ll be as strong as I am right now which is keeping me going.
I do have message for people who struggle with their Mental Health or any for of disability - Don’t let people make you feel ashamed and make you feel you can’t accomplish anything. My school doubted me of getting any GCSE’s and thought I wouldn’t make it to university or college due to me having autism and mental health issues. But I proved them wrong I got Cs and Ds in my GCSE’s, at college I got triple distinction star in BTEC and at University I’m on an average of 2:2s on a Sports Coaching Science BSc Honours degree. I’m hoping I get a 2:2 when I graduate university on my undergraduate degree so I can do a Master’s degree in Performance Analysis. My college asked my sister and I to come back to college after when we both graduate Uni to talk about our stories and grades we both achieved to inspire more young women in sport and beyond.
At the age of 17 I started to suffer from depression. I spent a large chunk of the end of my teenage years in bed alone not wanting to live this life anymore. I felt empty and numb like I wasn’t even alive. I stopped doing things, I isolated myself from everyone and went to a place I never want to go back to. I also dealt with a lot of social anxiety and body dysmorphia. After having my mum repeatedly beg me to get help, I finally decided to see a therapist and eventually went on medication to get me to a point where I was able to help myself. I began to build up healthier coping mechanisms and started to relearn to love myself. Four years later and I'm able to go out and socialise, travel, make plans for my future and most importantly I’m kind to myself. I still have days when I’m scared I’m back at 17 but I hold on to hope and love and take things one step at a time. If I didn’t reach out for help when I did I don’t know what would have happened.
My Black Dog is a beautiful platform encouraging people to talk. Through volunteering, it has enabled me to support those that are in a similar position of struggling. After my first chat with a service user I knew this was what I was meant to be doing. Being able to listen to someone and having them open up to you is one thing, but then being told that you have given them hope is something even more incredible. Being in such dark times myself to then being able to do this is something I’m most proud of. I am so thankful for organisations like My Black Dog and amazing people like Niki for supporting people who feel like they can’t speak to anyone else. We all need each other whether we know it or not. Life is so fragile and yet so beautiful. If you’re in a position in which you can use your own experiences to help others, I couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s a beautiful thing to have the opportunity and to be healthy enough to do this.
Five years ago, I knew that there were things going on in my mind that I didn’t understand, I’d feel really low for no conceivable reason. On the outside things were good, supportive family and decent job but this feeling kept coming to the surface. I (wrongly) buried these feelings for years until they came flooding to the surface. I began to feel like I was failing at everything I was doing, I dreaded waking up each day. Things got really bad over a period of weeks, building to one day where I physically couldn’t pick myself up off the floor. At this point I knew I needed to get help as it was having an effect on my family. I initially spoke to a GP who diagnosed me with Depression and Anxiety, I was prescribed some medication and also referred for CBT therapy. It took time but gradually I started to feel a bit like my old self.
The reasonI volunteer for My Black Dog is that I want to help people who were in a similar position to myself. I want to turn my experience into something positive and help in any way that I can. I hate the thought of people feeling as low and helpless as I did on my darkest day. It’s a great charity to volunteer for, it’s different in being an online chat, we’re there for people who may not understand what they are feeling or haven’t said it out loud. We have a great support network for the volunteers, a hands-on volunteer manager and a fantastic, approachable CEO.
I have been volunteering for My Black Dog since Summer 2020. I have lived with my mental ill health for the past thirteen years since I lost my dad after a very short and unexpected illness. I had always been very strong and coped with two divorces and three children as a single parent, alongside a full-time job and studying for a degree. Then I lost my dad and my whole world fell apart. I think the truth was I’d been too strong and too independent for too long and this was my mind and my body’s way of telling me to take some time out. So I did. Well I had to. I had three months off from work. It felt the right length of time and I returned and was fine for quite a long time. Over the past thirteen years I have been on and off my medication (sometimes with my GPs support and sometimes not…another story…big mistake…never do this) and I have had some real highs and some horrible lows.
In January 2019 I had a complete breakdown. I was being bullied at work, a relationship I was in ended, and I didn’t get a new job I interviewed for and really wanted. I hit rock bottom. At that point I accepted that I needed help and medication. Both of which I will never refuse again. My GP asked me once, after I’d stopped my medication stating I felt better (work that one out!), if I would resist medication for a heart condition? Obviously, I said no. So he explained that I may have a chemical imbalance in my brain which causes my depression, so why was I resisting medication to help myself? It’s stuck with me and now I have accepted that I may need to be on the medication for the rest of my life. If it helps me be me, then that’s just fine.
I enjoy volunteering for My Black Dog, as I think speaking to a real person who has actually had mental health issues and understands is invaluable. We all speak from genuine experience. We will tell you what worked for us and what didn’t. We may have met with a number of counsellors/therapists before we found the right one too. And that’s fine.
During my online chats, I have met a wealth of very interesting people, all ages, from all walks of life. I have learnt from them too.
The training I received before I was let loose was great, really informative, and the ongoing support from our managers and each other is wonderful. I can’t recommend MBD enough!
I joined My Black Dog May 2022, my friend recommended this charity to me as I enjoy helping others especially when it comes to mental health. I have high functioning anxiety and OCD - My mental health has affected my relationship with people, being sociable and raising my children as a single parent. I have days where I have no motivation, no passion to do anything, and the next, you can't stop me, I’m doing everything all at once. It can be tiring but I make time for myself and do things I find enjoyable – I find the best way to keep myself distracted is to keep busy and to help other people, whether it is talking about life’s struggles or just having a laugh.