22 Apr It’s National Volunteer Week!
CMHA York Region and South Simcoe has over 100 volunteers who are helping to make our mission, Mental Health for All, a reality. Last year alone they gave 5994 hours of their time to ensure the smooth running of our programs. And last June, a special group of 150+ volunteers gave an additional 750+ hours to help make our annual event #MentalHealthinMotion the best one yet.
CMHA YR volunteers come from all walks of life, but the one thing they all have in common is the desire to help make this world a better place through ensuring that everyone in our community gets the care and support they need when experiencing mental illness.
1 in 5 Canadians are currently experiencing a mental health problem or illness and by age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness. These statistics demonstrate the centrality of our work, which without our volunteers would not be possible.
One of our most sought after programs, Support for Depression is a key demonstration of both how important volunteers are to our work and how personal experience with a mental health problem or illness is often a driving factor behind our volunteers’ efforts. This program is led by volunteers who have experienced depression themselves and who are giving their time and energy to support those in need. Programs run out of Newmarket, Aurora, Keswick, Vaughan, Bradford and Markham every week and there is a never a shortage of those who need our support.
Our Support for Depression co-facilitator volunteers are but one example of how individuals are helping to make a difference. Here at CMHA YR, we have seven different kinds of volunteer roles:
- Program support-designing and running activities for clients with all sorts of backgrounds, includes special interest groups for youth, 2SLGBTQ members and others (Community Connections, Support for Depression, Family/Caregiver Education)
- Education and Advocacy– sharing the good work of CMHA with all types of audiences, increasing their knowledge of mental health, and providing support to youth (Choices and Community Education and Training)
- Administrative support-helping CMHA YR keep up with the ever-growing need for mental health support by working behind the scenes along with staff
- Offering support in the Community-going out and providing direct client care in the community to specific need groups (Flexible support roles for various language communities, MOBYSS)
- Special events-CMHA YR has many events throughout the year and can always use volunteers to help, especially at our annual #MentalHealthinMotion event each June
- Sharing your Experiences-with 1/5 Canadians experiencing mental illness there are many who have stories to share but the stigma still makes it hard at times. Our Speaker’s Bureau program and our Client/Family advisors help make it possible not just to share stories but to help us make the care offered at CMHA YR better.
- Virtual support– No matter where you are or what you do, you can also help support CMHA YR by contributing to awareness raising campaigns like the current #SignsOfSupport in the face of COVID 19 or the fundraising efforts of #MOBYSSinMOTION which seeks to raise money for the only mobile youth health clinic for youth 12-25 years old. Other ways to help are: printing and distributing our telephone support service flyer or completing our Volunteering during COVID 19 survey.
So if you want to take the next step in being a CMHA YR volunteer and helping us create a reality in which mental health care is available to all in need please visit https://cmha-yr.on.ca/get-involved/volunteer/ and you can get started today.