Webinar recording: Volunteering in Mental Health

Tags: Webinar

1st November 2021



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Mental health care has become one of the key priorities in the NHS Long-term plan and therefore, it’s essential to start thinking about how volunteers can make a difference in this area.

We held this webinar in October with the aim to provide a platform where our guest speakers shared some new ideas with volunteer leaders of how volunteers can support patients with mental health needs in acute and community settings.

Our guest speakers included:

  • Zoe Tuck, Volunteer to Career & Well-being Coordinator and volunteer Nicola Everton from James Cook University Hospital (South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust): They shared in details how the team set up their A & E Well-being volunteers that support patients with mental health needs (such as anxiety, depression, etc.), so that patients can settle down in a new environment and be less disruptive.

  • Giles Piercy, Helpforce Programme Manager: Giles shared with us how Helpforce worked with the Brent Council and Central North West London NHS Foundation Trust to deliver the project: “Volunteering to support emotional wellbeing and mental health in Brent.”

Please scroll down to the bottom to download the presentations from the speakers.


Here is a quick summary for each session:

A&E wellbeing volunteers:

  • Patients waiting in A&E often struggle with anxiety causing erratic behaviour. Volunteers can help to calm the situation in various ways by distraction. This can be achieved in simple ways; talking, reading and playing games like noughts and crosses. Sitting with the patient and distracting them from their situation reduces their anxiety / disruptive behaviour, making a huge difference to both patient and staff members.

Volunteering to support emotional wellbeing and mental health in Brent:

This project is about building stronger, more resilient communities and creating the conditions for volunteers to thrive. With extreme health inequalities in this area, building better links in local communities will enable people to look after each other's wellbeing and mental health.

  • The survey exposed some of the real challenges that have been faced over the past year. It was also found that people didn’t know what services were available to support them and each other; and that people also wanted to be better equipped to help their neighbours

  • Forums were set up to encourage local people to take the lead and empower them to develop and use their own resources to manage their health and wellbeing.

  • Going forward Brent wants to close the gaps to stop people falling through to more acute services and move away from looking at communities as passive recipients of services planned and delivered by statutory providers. They want to be guided by the local communities on what their priorities are and how they can be supported to make the changes they want to see.

The report for the project has been published, which can be found here.

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