To mark National Volunteers Week 2021, Mental Health Innovations has launched a report into the impact of volunteering with its Shout 85258 text support service.
Among the key findings from Shout’s Volunteer Survey 2021 as well as its first ever Diversity and Equality Monitoring form, we found that:
- Volunteering for Shout not only benefits texters but also the volunteers too: 91% say they have been able to use their skills outside the service to help themselves, their families, friends and co-workers in their day-to-day lives.
- Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted life as we know it in the UK, volunteering for Shout has been an opportunity to retain a sense of purpose for many, with 95% saying that volunteering for Shout gives them a sense of accomplishment and 74% agreeing that it gives them a greater sense of wellbeing.
- Many people wanted to give back and help others during the pandemic, and 50% of Shout volunteers joined Shout during this period.
- 84% agree that volunteering with Shout helps them to be better listeners and has increased their sense of empathy.
Sarah Kendrick, Clinical Director at Mental Health Innovations, said: "Our volunteers are at the very heart of our service. They’re based across the UK and New Zealand and are absolutely crucial to our success. They’ve now taken over a quarter of a million conversations with people in distress.
“During the pandemic we’ve seen the need for volunteers increase as demand for our service has also gone up, and we’re particularly looking for people who can support with the demand we see later at night. With 95% of our respondents telling us that volunteering with Shout gives them a sense of accomplishment, I’d encourage anyone wanting to give something back to sign up to become a Shout Volunteer.”
As the pandemic continues and beyond, the need for mental health support in the workplace will also be increasingly important. In a recent texter feedback survey, we found that more than half (52%) of those who are currently employed wouldn’t feel able to talk to their employer about their mental health. Recognising how important the skills our volunteers learn during training with Shout and the need for workplaces to adapt to new ways of working post-pandemic, Mental Health Innovations has partnered with Hive Learning to develop Mental Health Works, a new learning programme for enterprises, which provides training on the art of good conversations and listening skills to empower employers to foster a culture of positive mental wellbeing.