We've gone mental!!!
Lifestyle

We’ve Gone Mental!!! Part 1: Volunteering and Mental Health

Let’s start with the obvious… Until recently, mental health challenges and other related issues are things we usually shy away from, especially in a society like ours in which stuff like this is usually tagged “oyinbo’s problem” (white man’s problem) or at most, something that can be easily snapped out of. And I admit I used to share the same view until some level of knowledge, exposure and experience changed my perspective. Hopefully, as more people are getting aware and educated on mental health, we can truly address these issues as we ought to and eradicate the associated stigma.

I’ve been meaning to write something on this but never got past few lines of draft until yesterday (14th June) which was the 4th month anniversary of an organization I belong to, Ibadan Volunteers Hub (IVH) , a community of young people in Ibadan dedicated to creating positive change through volunteerism. Because we love celebrating even small milestones and finding every opportunity to add value , we decided to carry out a Mental Health Awareness Campaign in commemoration of that, focusing on volunteering as a tool to combat depression and other mental health challenges. We are fully invested and won’t stop speaking about this, so yes, beyond giving of ourselves, time, skills and all, we’ve literally gone mental!

IVH Mental Health Awareness Campaign
Ibadan Volunteers Hub Mental Health Awareness Campaign

You might wonder how there’s a link between volunteering and mental health, but it’s been shown and known through research that volunteering can help overcome certain mental health issues and boost overall health as supported by this article on mental health choices  among many others. And as a die-hard volunteer and someone who’s struggled with some issues before (especially self esteem and body image problems), I can tell you that I’ve enjoyed the benefits firsthand and it’s very true that you just might be helping yourself by helping others.

Volunteering

Here’s how:
1. Social Interaction and Connection: Depression and other mental health challenges manifest themselves in different ways and for some, it’s that feeling of loneliness or the desire to withdraw.

Volunteering, especially in teams, might be just what you need to get out of your shell and interact with others. Social interaction with others can help boost your mood and lessens risk of getting suicidal thoughts and hurting yourself by being all alone. Through interaction, you get to build a support network or make a connection with someone who just gets you, whom you can fully open up to and can help you get over certain challenges.

Volunteer Support Network

2. Feel-good factor: Maybe it’s just me, but there’s this warm glow and feeling I get from helping out because I feel useful and valuable. This definitely goes a long way to feel better about yourself and begin to find meaning to your existence. Which leads to my next point…
3. Boosts self-worth and self-esteem: Doing something outside of yourself can really boost your self esteem. Studies show that people who feel useless and worthless, especially older, mentally and physically challenged people, find that their self esteem got boosted again when they got involved in the community.

It might be reading to kids at a local orphanage, helping out with someone’s homework, ushering at a local event, getting involved in an art project, assisting an elderly person with mobility issues, speaking on or teaching something you are very good at, etc. It goes to show that there’s something you have that is useful and means a lot to some other person(s) out there.

4. Gets you active: I know, you probably want to lie in bed all day and wallow in self pity and self hate. Or no matter how much you try, you just feel numb with no inclination to do anything. But signing up as a volunteer can give you the needed push to get up and get active which can help you take your mind off the low feelings and gradually help get over them as well as focus your energy and thoughts towards a positive cause.
5. Gives a sense of purpose: When you find a cause or project you are interested in and give yourself towards it, it can create a sense of purpose and a reason for living. This in turn can give another reason to keep holding on, seek help and keep trying rather than just give up.

In all, remember that volunteering (or whatever you do) is not what makes you worthy, but it can help you see the worth in yourself.

Volunteering and self-worth TVA.jpg
Volunteering and self-worth

If you are dealing with any mental health challenge, know that it’s really OK not to be OK at times and there really no shame in getting help, so talk to someone today. I’m sincerely sending out love and prayers to everyone out there dealing with mental health challenges.

Ibadan Volunteers Hub Mental health Campaign
Poem by Timi of Teemiewrites

The above was written by Timi of Teemiewrites , a fellow IVH member and spontaneous writer. It doesn’t have to stop here, we at Ibadan Volunteers Hub have decided to go mental, why don’t you join us?

I’m very much interested in your views. Contribute to this by sharing your thoughts in the comment section below and don’t forget to like, share and subscribe if you haven’t. 

Thanks!

-The Value Adder™

Advertisements

32 thoughts on “We’ve Gone Mental!!! Part 1: Volunteering and Mental Health”

    1. That idea is very erroneous, and has cost us a lot. It ends up being a vicious cycle because then, depressed people keep quiet and suffer in silence, rather than face society’s disbelief and wrong attitude. And their silence then feeds the notion that there’s nothing like depression. Thanks for your contribution.

      Like

  1. Yes, am one of those who used to think we don’t experience depression or mental issues in this part of the world. I mean suicide was not a thing earlier on. Thing is most of us don’t even know or understand that’s what we are going through. Thank God for the awareness being created now and for a such a piece as a guideline to dealing with it. God bless you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We get better with increased knowledge. Around here, things like this are usually cloaked in silence because of stigma, but I’m glad awareness is rising. Thanks a lot for coming by, please spread the knowledge 😀💕

      Like

  2. Beauty Full work. Please keep it up and the sky won’t be your limit but your starting point as there are still Dimensions beyond the Sky. It’s a world of endless possibilities. Bravo, Esther.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I strongly believe in giving value to society which is why I’m drawn to your blog “the value adder”. Coincidentally, I’m also writing a post about Depression, even though I’m not a member of ivh. It’s a rather personal post and I’d love you to check it out once it’s published. Xoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow, this means a lot to me. I’m looking forward to your post(your posts just get me), let me know when it drops. Thanks for coming by. P. S, you can join us at IVH, it’s a great platform and very flexible. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, I came across the volunteering hub page on instagram and I wasn’t sure if I should join or not since m not a resident of Ibadan, so I would like to know if it’s possible to join despite not leaving in Ibadan. Thanks

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You can join us. Where are you based? We have hubs around too, like Abeokuta and Abuja and are fast expanding our reach to other states. Just that Ibadan is the headquarters. Follow the link in the IVH IG page bio to register.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is the light. Seeing the anti-suicide and mental health campaign going viral especially in this part of Africa is such a relief because many are actually dead- living but are hiding because they don’t want to be termed sick but with this, we give hope. Great work TVA.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Very Interesting write up. Its a write up for the season. A lot of people are going through depression. I saw an article on the influence of social media especially Instagram that leads many into depression, deaspiration and self hate. Like you said Volunteering might just be one way to solve depression

    Liked by 2 people

    1. True though, social media can cause depression if not used properly. Most people get carried away with the lifestyle projected by others online, forgetting that it’s just virtual. You only see what they want you to see. Then cyber bullying and trolling in the name of jokes are so rampant plus seeking validation online. We really need to address this. Thanks for your contribution. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s