My Dorset Mind journey started back to 2017 when I became ill and lost my way for a while. As I got better, I decided to take a 6-month career break from my stressful job which was becoming unmanageable. This, in hindsight was the best decision I could have made. It helped me focus on what was important and relax enough to not worry about the stresses of work life for a while.
Volunteering at Dorset Mind
My journey with Dorset Mind began when a friend from work who was also a trustee at Dorset Mind suggested that I might like to become a volunteer. I had heard of Dorset Mind but only from a distance but I decided to give it a go, and the rest as they say is history.
After a slow start, on my part and feeling a little anxious I started volunteering for the Dorset Mind Your Head team. This involved going into schools to talk about mental health and wellbeing. The buzz was amazing, challenging my nervousness and empowering me to share the information around mental health and wellbeing to young people. It really took me out of my comfort zone and I realised that I enjoyed standing up in front of people, something that in my teenage years would have seemed impossible due to my acute shyness and low self-esteem.
I felt I had found what I really wanted to do and the support from Dorset Mind and the CYP team was amazing. As a volunteer you can do as much or as little as you like, and it can work around your other commitments too. The feeling that I was helping others was incredible and I felt privileged to be doing so.
Becoming a paid member of staff
After volunteering for 10 month’s I was offered a 15-hour a week contract as a CYP Service Practitioner. I was proud to work for Dorset Mind and have the opportunity to work in a paid position. Unfortunately, in March 2020 we were put into lockdown meaning all the schools were closed for a number of months. We rallied together and kept spreading the word about mental health and wellbeing online and through recorded sessions of our programmes.
Gradually lockdown lifted and we were able to go into schools again. The impact of the COVID-19 restrictions could be seen everywhere. We were busy helping young people come to terms with what was happening. Besides this, I was coping with my own anxieties and concerns about the pandemic.
In September 2021 I was lucky enough to be promoted to CYP School Services Team Leader. Although sometimes challenging, this role has enabled me to work more closely with the Dorset Mind team. Together, we help young people in Dorset live mentally healthy.
As part of Dorset Mind you will always be made to feel you are a valued part of the team. You can make a difference as a volunteer or paid staff member.
Our Guest Blogger
Huge thanks to CYP School Services Team Leader, Tracey for sharing her journey working for Dorset Mind.
Looking to volunteer?
Volunteering is a great way of meeting new people. As part of our onboarding process you will receive training to help support you. We have a variety of volunteering roles available. To find out more visit https://dorsetmind.uk/get-involved/volunteer-for-us/