This World Health Day, Volunteering New Zealand recognises the thousands of volunteers working throughout New Zealand to beat depression.

World Health Day is linked to Goal 3 of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which seeks to ‘ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all’. Depression, the theme for 2017, impacts more than 300 million people worldwide, an 18% increase between 2005 and 2015.

“Volunteers are a vital part of the solution to beating depression” states Scott Miller, Chief Executive of Volunteering New Zealand. “The work volunteer-organisations do across health, social services and sports to support people living with depression cannot be undervalued” Miller adds.

One such organisation supporting people dealing with depression is Youthline, which offers channels such as a 24/7 free phone hotline, and support via text, email, web chat and, in some areas, face to face support for young people who wish to access help.

Last year Youthline was supported by over 60, 000 volunteer hours. Stephen Bell, Youthline Auckland CEO acknowledges their work “we would never connect with as many young people as we do without our dedicated volunteer team, they are core to our work in communities.”

“The Youthline model is to develop young people who then provide services back to their local communities. The volunteers who take the journey to become Helpline counsellors, and support others through tough times are courageous and generous, I cannot commend them enough,” says Bell.

Volunteering New Zealand recognises the importance of The Mental Health Foundation’s Five Ways to Wellbeing resource, which reminds all of us how we can improve our wellbeing:

• giving (including your time);

• learning (including embracing new experiences);

• getting active out of the house;

• being mindful and reflecting on what matters to you; and

• connecting with others.

Volunteering New Zealand (VNZ) is an association of national volunteer-involving organisations that have a commitment to volunteering. Their mission is to maximise the impact of volunteering in our communities.