Queensland Mental Health Week, 9-15 October, is a good opportunity to think about the impact volunteering can have on your well-being.
How volunteering helps you
- Let you share your talents with the community. This can give you a sense of achievement, purpose and can help you to feel valued.
- Provide a chance to meet like-minded people. Making new friends can combat social isolation, loneliness and help you feel connected.
- Improve your self-esteem and confidence by learning new skills and having new experiences.
The latest research
These benefits are some of the reasons why a report from the British Medical Journal has found a “strong positive association between volunteering and both physical and mental health.”
Although the report's findings indicated that volunteers aged between 40 and 80 received the best scores on the General Health Questionnaire (used to measure physical and mental health), all of those who volunteered scored better than those who never volunteered.
Furthermore, the report divided the participants into four categories of volunteering frequency:
- Frequent (once per week or more)
- Infrequent (several times per year)
- Rare (once per year or less)
The results found the categories’ GHQ scores from best to worst were: Frequent, Infrequent, Rare, Never. This shows that volunteering more often can be beneficial to your well-being.
Queensland Mental Health Week
The QMHW gives the community an opportunity to acknowledge and reflect upon mental health, take action to highlight the importance of mental well-being and reduce stigma. It's also a chance to celebrate the service of mental health workers, many of whom are volunteers.
The opening event for the week was the Walk for Awareness held around Kangaroo Point on Sunday morning. It was a chance to connect with friends, nature and the community to help raise awareness and understanding of mental illness.
Make sure you head out to any of over 100 talks, walks, festivals, and more.
Get involved in volunteering
There are plenty of opportunities for those interested in taking on a role to support mental health in their area.