Why I became a YoungMinds Activist

Why I became a YoungMinds Activist

During Volunteers' Week, we're highlighting the vital role our volunteers play and learning what motivates them. YoungMinds Activist, Ulfah Ali, gives a personal account of combating mental health through volunteering.

Why I became an activist

In a very busy world, it's easy to overlook issues suffered by vulnerable people. Being an activist shows me a world that isn’t often talked about or given much attention.

It's about taking the time, effort and patience to establish change and to empower the unrepresented. It is also about building trust with people so as to create a sense of harmony and security.

My personal passion is to advocate for men's mental health. Men sometimes don’t feel comfortable discussing their feelings, which can create unsolved problems with unpleasant long-term effects. It’s hard to imagine living and battling with a multitude of stress all alone. Reaching out is essential because not doing so can take a toll on self-respect and esteem.

I want to be part of that change, raise awareness of such a significant issue and give a voice to the silent. Part of that change includes ending the stigma attached to men’s mental health and creating a more understanding world.

What do I want to get out of being an activist?

Ultimately, to develop my self-esteem, self-confidence and self-respect.

I constantly worry about my lack of social skills and feel secluded, isolated and have a tendency to be a verbal recluse. So, it’s very important to seek opportunities to connect with and listen to other people. It allows me to work on my self-confidence, especially when meeting new people.

You can only grow as a person if you force yourself to try something that you are not used to or experienced in.

Personal development often involves some discomfort and fear of change. However, the only way I can grow is to open my mind to new things, if I don’t I put myself in danger of becoming more withdrawn and isolated. Exposing my mind to new ideas and lifestyles can be a very refreshing experience.

I need to challenge the discomfort associated with change by overcoming the fear of the unknown, experiment and learn from experience. I need to remember when in conflict not to use my rational shield to stay in my comfort zone because - dreams die in the comfort zone. Giving myself permission to fail is a great way to start.    

Why I value volunteering

Being selfless and setting aside time for others can be fulfilling and rewarding.

You can make an impact, whatever the size, and benefit from a sense of belonging and understanding because of your contribution to society. You also feel a sense of achievement, which is a great confidence booster.

You realise the value of empathy and why it is so important to make it a habit in your life. If you spread compassion and happiness then it will surround you.

A newfound sense of ambition and self-esteem can help fight unhealthy thoughts and negative emotions. Volunteering can be a catalyst for change driven by a new and profound sense of hope. Interacting with people on a personal and emotional level drives us to become better versions of ourselves. We can learn from others and realise that the world is not that bleak at all. Alone we can do so little but together we can achieve so much more.

Get Involved

Find out how you can get involved with Volunteers' Week, either as a volunteer or to celebrate the great people you work with, by visiting the Volunteers Week. 

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