YAM Instructor and Public Servant
I always knew I wanted to volunteer with a mental health organisation, so when I met MIEACT CEO Heidi at a volunteering expo a couple of years back, I jumped at the chance to get involved in YAM (Youth Awareness of Mental Health).
I spend about 12 hours a term with Year 9 students, helping them to recognise the connection between our feelings and our actions, how to identify a friend in need, where to go for help and spending time walking in other people’s shoes. I have first-hand experience of a friend died by suicide in her teens, so it’s extremely important to me that mental health is discussed without stigma from an early age.
Volunteering brings me a great deal of joy and I’m proud of the work I do – sometimes I think I get as much out of it as the students. The feeling of building rapport and making an impact is fantastic. Volunteering has also been beneficial in areas where I was least expecting it. Becoming a MIEACT volunteer has prompted me to engage with my own mental health, and to seek support for challenges that I have been aware of for some time, but never really pushed myself to take on. The MIEACT story crafting process has been incredibly valuable for me. Not only has it allowed me to share my story and contribute positively to my own mental health, but it has also allowed students to see themselves in my story.