Experience – Volunteering

Volunteering – My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner

After graduating with a psychology degree in 2013, I thought employment would naturally follow suit. However, I soon learned that having a good degree on its own was not enough for many employers and what they really valued was experience. I decided the best course of action for me to take in order to obtain this experience was to look into volunteering with local organisations. I was familiar with the services FDAMH provided and thought it would be the ideal place for me to gain practical experience of working with those with mental health problems.

Every volunteer FDAMH takes on is put through a training programme which is an excellent way of preparing you for what your role as a volunteer will entail. After completing the training, I started volunteering at the organisation’s card making group. It is a small and quiet group that focuses on the principles of mindfulness. For me, it was a lovely way to spend some time being creative and help others gain confidence through an activity which they enjoyed. Volunteering, in turn, also gave me confidence and a real sense of purpose. It is so refreshing to feel part of the team at FDAMH too; they really do value their volunteers and offer many beneficial training courses that I ordinarily wouldn’t have had access to.

After just a few short months of volunteering, I was offered a job in FDAMH’S drop-in service as a Health and Wellbeing Support Worker. I am thrilled to be taken on as a member of staff and owe it to my time volunteering in which I gained invaluable experience. To anyone who is considering volunteering, I can’t recommend it highly enough. There are a range of opportunities available at FDAMH to suit whichever area it is you are interested in and the wonderful Morag is on hand to help with any queries you may have. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!

Tags: Activity Groups, Volunteering
12/01/2016 at 2:19 pm

Being a board member at FDAMH is rewarding in so many ways

Being a Board member at FDAMH is rewarding in so many ways. We have a fabulous staff team at FDAMH and playing a small part in this organisation’s success is humbling. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly we can turn ideas into actions. The most rewarding thing is to see a project being discussed, funding sought and the project implemented within weeks/months. The ability of the organisation to think big and tackle the inequities of healthcare access is also greatly personally rewarding.
Everyone is touched in some way by depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. Nobody is immune, I have personal experience of this despite my knowledge after working for many years in the mental health field. I used to think that I could cope with everything and was some kind of “wonder woman”. FDAMH were there for me, to support me and help me pick up the pieces and put my life back into perspective.
I am passionate about FDAMH’s success in increasing community understanding of mental health and wellbeing and reducing the stigma associated with these conditions.

Tags: Board, Volunteering
16/12/2013 at 7:16 pm

Successful befriending is based in strong training and support for volunteers

I began Befriending because I was in a position where I did not need to work. I thought it would be nice to do something for someone else and might benefit me if I needed/wished to return to university in the future.

When I first met my befriendee it could be uncomfortable (almost like we had been set up on a blind date) but as we got to know each other we began to get on well. It was good for me to have some time away from my children. It was also good for my befriendee to get out the house and be able to talk about her problems. For me it could be challenging when she cancelled on me at the last moment or when she had not done much since the last time I saw her (conversation could be quite repetitive). However I found the experience to be enjoyable and believe it helped her a good deal.

I feel my Befriending Co-ordinator, Stuart, was very supportive and communicative with me throughout my time as a befriender. He always made himself available to talk when I required it and invited me along to additional training on several occasions.

I thought my training was very good. In some regards you don’t know how good it is until you are faced with a situation with your befriendee and then you remember and your training kicks in.

I hope I am in a situation in the future to be able to return to Befriending as it is such a worthwhile cause.


Tags: Volunteering
27/11/2013 at 6:35 pm

Being a counselling volunteer

Over the last year I have had a very good experience at FDAMH. The clinical work is excellent and I have seen a wide range of clients in terms of age, gender and presenting issues. The referral procedure works well and Liz offers excellent mentoring and line management. She is organised and supportive and always gives me time when I need it. Liz has organised some excellent training opportunities from which I have learned a lot about for when working with clients.


Tags: Counselling, Volunteering
27/11/2013 at 6:22 pm

Volunteering with the Counselling Service

I have been a volunteer with FDAMH’s counselling service for over three years and during these three years there has not been a day that I have not looked forward to the challenges and rewards working at the centre brings. I experience working within the service as a boundaried and safe place which is nurturing and supportive and respectful of clients and counsellors alike. I value having ready access to the formal support that is afforded by the co-ordinator and FDAMH’s wider administrative team. Participating in the training evenings has been a welcomed opportunity to linking up with fellow counsellors as well as enhancing my learning.
The counselling service provides an invaluable resource to local people particularly at a time of major cut backs and the lengthy waiting time to access other mental health supports. The recent expansion of the Fast Track project is a welcome addition complimenting the core service.


Tags: Counselling, Volunteering
26/11/2013 at 9:25 pm

Varied work and great support for trainee counsellors

The following is a little bit about my experience as a FDAMH volunteer trainee Psychotherapist.

I have had a wide range of clients coming from various backgrounds both male and female, who vary in age. The majority of my clients have been middle aged although I have had some younger and older clients also.

I feel the clients have been reasonably well matched to my current ability and level of expertise. I feel Liz takes time to find out how I am progressing through my training and if I feel competent with the type of client’s I have referred to me. I am very happy with the level of support our counselling coordinator, Liz, gives. She is extremely helpful and offers support around client work. I feel able to share my concerns and success with Liz, I feel she takes me seriously and offers good practical advice and support. I don’t feel pressure to get everything right, she displays a lot of compassion and caring. In my opinion she models a good ethical working style ensuring our clients get the best possible service and I as the therapist take care of my needs also.

The training I have attended, in my opinion, has been of a very high standard and well organised. The training events are well publicised and I am made to feel more than welcome to attend. The one I most enjoyed was the workshop about self-harming, I feel I gained a lot of understanding about the process a person who self-harms goes through and how to work with that type of client.

My experience at FDAMH has been enjoyable, the staff are friendly, there is a good atmosphere within the building, the reception seems to work well. I like the open door policy, I feel able to approach other members of staff, the place seems to run well with lots of opportunities for staff members and the general public. Overall I have a very high opinion of the work and service we all provide as an organisation.

Tags: Counselling, Students at FDAMH, Volunteering
26/11/2013 at 9:23 pm