Authors: Michael Appleton
Event: 2016 TheMHS Conference
Subject: Innovations in Peer Work, Communities, Lived Experience, Social Justice, Social Inclusion, Wellbeing, North Shore Ryde Mental Health Service
Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers
Abstract: The 2011 Australian Census found 19.4% of Australians contributed in formal volunteering, with 33% of people living with a disability or long term illness participating as volunteers. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) defines formal ‘volunteering’ as “people who willingly gave unpaid help in the form of time, service or skills, though an organisation or group.” The presenter has been a formal volunteer with Ryde Mental Health Services for 25 years. The ABS identifies the reasons for volunteering include helping others (57%), personal satisfaction (44%), doing something worthwhile (36%) and using skills and experience (16%). The presenter identifies these reasons as being true for him, particularly using his lived experience to meet the needs of other people living with mental health issues in the community.
The presentation aims to share the benefits for the individual volunteering, the people being supported and the mental health system. The value of volunteering is as important as paid employment and provides a sense of purpose, dignity and belonging.