Volunteering with Mental Health and Addictions: "It's really rewarding!"
Three years ago, Sydney Powers began volunteering at Hillsborough Hospital. As a psychology student at the University of Prince Edward, she was interested in gaining practical experience. She also wanted to normalize conversations about mental health.
“For some reason, there’s a huge stigma surrounding mental health,” she said. “I grew up with many people that have required mental health support. I want to help because people I care about have benefitted from these programs.”
Sydney’s volunteer time has been diverse, from physical recreation with patients to colouring pictures, playing bingo, and doing puzzles.
Sherri Stewart, Mental Health a Addictions volunteer coordinator, said there are many ways to help.
“From incorporating your own skills and hobbies or simply by providing companionship to patients, it’s really open. For new volunteers, the first step is an application. The second is an interview, and next is a personal reference check and criminal record check. We ask our new volunteers to complete some online modules about mental health and addictions followed by an in-person orientation and facility tour.”
Sherri said volunteering with the department gives back in a multitude of ways.
“There’s personal fulfillment, networking, and social activities and the chance to obtain experience for future education and employment. On top of that, Islanders are breaking down the stigma around mental health and addiction. “
For Sydney, volunteering with Mental Health and Addictions has many rewards.
“I’ve learned a lot about myself through volunteering,” said Sydney. “It’s really rewarding. It makes you feel really good.”
Interested in volunteering? Contact Sherri Stewart, Volunteer Service Coordinator, at 902-368-5482 or email@example.com.