I was first introduced to Youthline when my cousin, an experienced helpline counsellor, mentioned it to me as someone interested in and studying psychology. I was already interested in doing more volunteer work, so Youthline appealed to both my personal interest and my desire to help others.
My current volunteer role at Youthline is as a mentor where I provide support and feedback for trainees on the helpline. Specifically, my support involves being available to trainees for suggestions during a call, and me checking-in with a trainee after calls or when they may feel a bit off.
Be it struggles with depression or stress about leaving school, I find it highly rewarding to be able to recognise and cater to the needs of an individual. I know that the vast majority of those who reach out to us are, at the moment when they reach out, in great need of and relying on us to support them. I maintain a regular presence on the helpline because I am aware that without such investment from the volunteers, such a service could not be sustained. With New Zealand’s youth suicide rates being among the highest in the OECD, combined with there being too few volunteer counsellors for Youthline to constantly cover the helpline, my personal impact and the need for it is high.
My present volunteering is the culmination of two and a half years of experience with Youthline which has provided me with an array of new interpersonal skills, a warmer disposition, a greater understanding and experience with mental health, and a supportive community. Fundamentally, volunteering with Youthline has offered me a strong sense of fulfilment from providing an essential and neglected service to many who need it.
Interactive Volunteer Stories Map
This story was shared as part of our interactive map of volunteer stories from across Aotearoa, which we launched during #NVW2019. This map is filled with stories from volunteers throughout Aotearoa, New Zealand. This map celebrates the contribution of volunteers in their communities throughout Aotearoa. It aims to inspire people to engage in volunteering, Mahi Aroha and social action and to realise the benefits of weaving their communities together through their actions.