In this blog from our National Volunteer Week series, we hear from our volunteers from The Parents Helpline (PHL) who tell us about their roles at YoungMinds.
Why did you decide to volunteer with The Parents Helpline?
“I decided to volunteer for YoungMinds because my eldest child had been a victim of bullying and it was totally devastating for his confidence and self-esteem. I really wanted to be in a position to help other parents who are going through this with their children, to give them support and advice as to what to do next.” – Catherine, PHL Volunteer
I decided to start volunteering as my son suffers from depression and anxiety, and two years ago tried to take his life. This was the darkest moment of my life and I was determined to try and help other families going through this trauma.” – Saida, PHL Volunteer
What’s a typical day like on The Parents Helpline?
“What’s a day on the helpline like? Never typical. At 09:30 the phones start to ring and the team for the day answer as many as they possibly can, dealing with the callers’ problems, worries and experiences. We ask questions, suggest ways forward, provide information about services relevant to the problem and crucially, in the more difficult situations, we can arrange for a longer phone consultation with a YoungMinds mental health professional adviser. All calls are logged on a confidential database, with permission from the caller.
At 16:00 the service closes and we go into a team debrief to share some of the calls we’ve taken. The debrief is an important off-load, discussion and mutual support time when calls have been, say, particularly harrowing or complex and it is also a time for ongoing learning.
At the end of any given day, most advisers would say that it is a privilege to be able to be a listening ear and sympathetic, encouraging voice to a parent or carer, who needs to talk it through and ask what they should do next.” – Barbara, former PHL Volunteer and now YoungMinds staff member.
What are the best things about volunteering with YoungMinds?
“The supportive team that runs the helpline are just incredible. They are so professional in what they do and provide high levels of support for all the volunteers. The team looks after the volunteers brilliantly and they always have time to listen to you whatever the reason may be.” – Catherine
The best thing about volunteering is going home at the end of the day knowing that I have helped a fellow human being. I know this because many people that I speak to thank me for my help at the end of the call.” – Jackie, PHL Volunteer
“The on-going training and support provided by the Helpline team is extremely effective in preparing you to take on the adviser role so that you are able to offer a professional and ethical service.
I am extremely proud to be part of the organisation and I have learnt a lot about myself in how I am able to offer my empathy and support to other parents who in many cases don’t know where to turn for help.” – Debrina, PHL Volunteer
What would you say to anyone thinking of volunteering on The Parents Helpline?
“I would say to anyone thinking of volunteering at YoungMinds to stop thinking and just do it! You will thank yourself for this decision and will go home at the end of the day knowing you have done something valuable for somebody, been there for them during a traumatic time in their life.” – Saida, PHL Volunteer
“Knowing that maybe something you say or even just being there on the other end of the phone can really make a difference to a situation that a family may be going through, is a truly humbling experience.
Volunteering on the helpline is absolutely wonderful and if you are passionate about the mental health of children and young people, then YoungMinds is a wonderful charity and this position on the helpline is worth considering.” – Catherine, PHL Volunteer
Thank You from PHL
We’d like to say a big thank you to all our wonderful PHL Volunteers. We really couldn’t run the service without you. Your dedication and enthusiasm shines through each and every day.
Join the PHL
Inspired by our volunteers? We’re currently recruiting a new team of volunteers for The Parents Helpline. Find our more on our vacancies at https://youngminds.org.uk/about-us/jobs/