Depression can affect anyone - no matter your age, background or circumstances. It's a lot more than just being a bit down or upset for a few days. Weeks and months can pass where you feel constantly debilitated, and it's certainly not something that just goes away or you can snap out of. There's no magic fix for depression, but there are charities which do incredible work supporting people through it.
Why Volunteer With A Depression Charity?
The World Health Organisation estimates there are 300 million people around the world living with depression. According to the Mental Health Foundation, approximately one in five people in the UK aged 16 or over show symptoms of anxiety or depression. It's a very real and very serious illness, but thankfully there's lots of help and support out there.
As well as medical services, there are a number of charities in the UK dedicated to helping in this area. When you volunteer with a depression charity, you'll see exactly how your time helps, which can be a hugely rewarding experience. You can also learn new skills, or devote your existing talents to a good cause.
How To Help With Depression Charities
Helplines can be major source of support both for people with depression and their loved ones. Whether you have a background in counselling or not, you'll receive training on how to talk to people who call up, giving them advice and information as well as lending a sympathetic ear. Depression often leads to isolation and loneliness, and a call to a helpline can play a huge part in breaking that cycle.
TELL YOUR OWN STORY
Depression and mental health issues have been taboo for centuries, but this is changing. More and more people talking about it helps us break down these barriers, as society develops a deeper understanding of how anyone can be affected. It's becoming increasingly popular to share stories online, both in print and as video blogs, also known as vlogs. You may not know it, but your own experiences and how you dealt with them could provide help and inspiration for others.
BECOME A YOUTH MENTOR
Depression can affect young people in the same way as any adult. In fact, teenagers are a particularly vulnerable group. Charities such as Children North East run mentor schemes which recruit volunteers aged between 17 and 25, who then provide support to young people aged 11 to 18. This one-on-one interaction can be hugely positive for younger people suffering from depression, and play a major role in their development into young adults.
INSPIRE THROUGH MUSIC
Youth Music is another charity which helps young people suffering from depression. The charity works nationally to help young people and children going through challenging circumstances to create music as a means of coping. You don't need to be a famous musician to help nurture the next Jimi Hendrix, Stormzy or Taylor Swift though. Almost anyone can help organise sessions, although if you do have a background in music, your talents could directly help allow tens of thousands of children and young people to regularly make, record and perform music.
HELP PEOPLE GET ACTIVE
When we exercise, our bodies release chemicals called endorphins, which make us feel positive. There are lots of charities in the UK which use sport to help combat depression. Player-supported charity Street League is the country's leading sport for employment charity. Unemployment can be a major cause or consequence of depression, so lace up your football boots or get your running gear on as you engage with people and teach them skills they can use in the world of work, as well as help them to feel better and healthier.
Things To Know Before You Volunteer
- Dealing closely with people suffering from depression can be emotionally challenging. You'll receive training and support for this, but it's certainly something to prepare yourself for in advance of committing.
- If you're mentoring young people or working around children in another capacity, you'll need to complete background checks. These are perfectly normal and a legal requirement, so you should never feel offended when asked.
Where To Get Started
However you think your skills will help most, you may be looking for inspiration on how to get started with helping a charity. The charities below are certainly worthy causes to consider:
Those three charities alone have received over £4 Million in funding thanks to our players, and you can do your bit by signing up to play People's Postcode Lottery too.