Volunteering in the ESPAA MENTAL HEALTH network increased by almost 50% in 2019 compared to the previous year
We could say that volunteering within the SALUD MENTAL ESPAA associative movement enjoys good health. At least this is what emerges from the latest report on the “ Volunteering in MENTAL HEALTH ESPAA 2019 ”, which reflects an increase of almost 50% in the number of people, nearly 3,800, who participated as volunteers in some of the activities that The more than 300 entities of the Associative Network carried out in 2019.
On the occasion of International Volunteering Day, which is celebrated tomorrow, December 5, and in order to continue to grow, the SALUD MENTAL ESPAA Confederation is launching the #Apoyolasaludmental campaign which aims to promote participation in voluntary activities by entities of the associative movement especially in young children and those with their own experience of mental health.
The report “ Volunteering in MENTAL HEALTH ESPAA 2019 ” reveals, for yet another year, a feminization of volunteering, with 66% of women volunteers, against 34% of men. Marta Garca, technician at the Projects and Studies pole, in charge of preparing this report, explains that “the majority profile responds to women between 18 and 29 years old with university studies. For this reason, and in the hope that the caregiving role can also begin to take on a man’s face, we want to encourage young boys to join volunteer groups. Currently, the largest number of male volunteers belong to the retiree age group ”.
The other big challenge of the Confederation, which defines this campaign, is to encourage people with mental health problems to actively participate in the entities, by being part of the teams of volunteers.
The volunteer report is based on a survey to which volunteers responded and, “last year, the percentage of people with their own mental health experience who participated in the survey (20%) is the highest. high from the start. to prepare this report, in 2015 ”, underlines Marta Garca. “These data – he continues – are very good news, because they reflect the progressive empowerment of people with mental health problems, who are gradually occupying spaces within the entities, in this case as volunteers. , getting involved and leading the projects and activities they lead ”.
This is the case of Andrs Colao Cueva and Paloma de Ftima Rubio Moreno, who seek to help and support other people within their associations, on the basis of knowledge brought by their own experience in mental health.
Andrs collaborates with Afesa Salud Mental Asturias, where he is also a member of the Committee for First Person Mental Health. He was a transporter, but after an epileptic seizure his driver’s license was taken away and with him the means with which he made a living. The loss of his job plunged him into a depression, from which he thought he could not get out until, with the support of his psychiatrist and his family, he joined the SALUD MENTAL ESPAA association movement. “I found the ‘surprise’ that I was not the only one going through a problem of this magnitude and that there is an associative movement to support us, to feel that we are equal, understood, listened to”.
For Andrs, moreover, the support and insight provided by someone with their own experience is always more effective and useful, as he is able to put himself in the other’s shoes, to understand and anticipate his needs and to foster a more trusting relationship. . According to him, “the figure of the first person is important in all senses and all entities, but in mental health I believe that more than in other branches and it will play a leading role because it is something reciprocal , because helping helps “.
In Paloma, volunteer at the Valencian Federation of Mental Health and member of the State Network of Women MENTAL HEALTH ESPAA, her activity brings her “satisfaction and knowledge”. She came to volunteer with a friend after developing a mental health problem and with the idea of breaking the stigma. He acknowledges that “there is still a long way to go for mental health to be seen as an important element that society should try to recognize and accept.”
Thus, the #Apoyolasaludmental campaign, which had the collaboration of the Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Protection, seeks to encourage more people like Andrs or Paloma to volunteer in mental health.
Through various infographics, the Confederation highlights the commitments it has made with its volunteering over the years. Focus on continuing training, which allows volunteers more and more responsibilities and autonomy, to broaden the fields of participation, by involving them, for example, in employment and placement programs, to raise awareness to fight Against the stigma and prejudices of mental health problems or offering more individualized attention are part of these commitments.
Volunteering, an element of personal and professional growth
The Confederation’s report provides a quantitative but also a qualitative assessment of the activity carried out by the volunteers of the Network throughout 2019, on the basis of the assessments provided by the volunteers. The results come from a survey to which 272 volunteers responded, 48.6% more than in 2018, belonging to entities of 12 autonomous communities.
According to the document, 92% of survey participants expressed their full involvement in the work they do and 85% appreciated the
training received to be able to develop volunteering. 74% recommend others to participate as volunteers in an entity, and 24% say they have already done so. No one admitted not recommending it.
It should also be noted the “attractiveness” of SALUD MENTAL ESPAA as a place of professional growth. This is demonstrated by the fact that 30% of the volunteers were students or professionals in the field of social health, including 15% of people who had completed internships in one of the associations.
Regarding the type of activities carried out by volunteers, 62% of volunteers participate in public events and events and 58% do so in support of monitors. The organization of workshops or activities, as well as their planning, also accumulate interesting percentages of participation, with respectively 43% and 38%.
To conclude, Nel Gonzlez Zapico, president of Confederacin SALUD MENTAL ESPAA, celebrates the good progress and the increase in the quantity and, above all, the quality of volunteering in mental health “which increasingly values the importance of instill a global awareness that mental health is something common to everyone, which we all need to attend and take care of, once and for all banishing generalized stereotypes and prejudices ”.