5 ways volunteering improves mental wellbeing

There are many amazing benefits to volunteering. Not only do you support your local community, but by volunteering you can support your own personal and professional development too. What’s even more interesting is that research has proven that volunteering can improve your mental health. This means that by doing good, you can feel good too! Here’s five ways volunteering can improve your mental wellbeing:

1. Connect with others

Whether you’re volunteering at our residential or our virtual camps, you’ll meet lots of amazing people! From campers to fellow volunteers, meeting new people and nurturing relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. Belonging to a community can help you feel grounded and more connected to the world around you. By connecting with others at camp you can:

  • build social relationships
  • make new friends
  • grow a sense of belonging and self-worth
  • share positive experiences
  • provide and receive emotional support.
ways volunteering improves mental wellbeing

2. Move your body

Our residential camps are an opportunity for exciting outdoor adventures! From scavenger hunts to swimming, rock climbing to archery, campers are outdoors for most of their time at camp – which means you will be too! Camp is a great way to feel the sun on your face and reconnect with nature as well as having fun with everybody. Keeping active is great for your physical health and fitness, but evidence also shows it can boost your mental wellbeing by:

  • raising your self-esteem
  • helping you to set goals or challenges and achieve them
  • boosting your mood.

3. Learn new skills

Volunteering is a great – and often stress-free – way of learning new skills. With no pressure to learn something new for a promotion or performance review, volunteering offers you the time and space to learn a new skill at your own pace. You can learn a new skill just for fun, to add to your personal/professional development and to push out of your comfort zone. Learning new skills can also improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • boosting self-confidence
  • maintaining curiosity about the world
  • helping you to build a sense of purpose
  • helping you to connect with others.

4. Give to others

Volunteering at camp is a way to give back to children, young people and their families whose lives have been impacted by a Health Challenge. Often the children and young people who come to our camps have never done anything like it before and have missed out on the fun and adventure childhood often brings. Research suggests that acts of giving and kindness can help improve your mental wellbeing by:

  • creating positive feelings and a sense of reward
  • giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth
  • helping you connect with other people
  • make a positive contribution to a child’s life
ways volunteering improves mental wellbeing

5. Notice

Volunteering for a cause is a great way to help you pay more attention to the present moment. Focusing on the present – your thoughts and feelings, your body and the world around you – can improve your mental wellbeing. By being mentally present, you can develop a better awareness and appreciation of your life and how your actions impact others. Whether you volunteer for a one-off occasion or volunteer more regularly, you’ll develop a better sense of self and feel more grounded in your day-to-day life.

The best way to approach volunteering is to find an opportunity you’ll enjoy. Whether it matches your skillset or focuses on something you’re passionate about, finding something you’ll enjoy doing for free will be the most rewarding way to volunteer and will have the biggest impact on your mental health.

Volunteer at camp

If you love working with children – or would like to! – we have a variety of volunteering opportunities for you at Over The Wall:

  • Clinical volunteer: make camp a safe environment for all of our campers by providing care for those who need it whilst joining in on the fun!
  • Team volunteer: support campers and build fantastic relationships whilst looking after their day and night time needs
  • Activity leader: do you have a secret skill or passion you’d love to share? Get fully involved in camp by leading an activity and encouraging campers to engage in something new
  • Media crew: snap photos and videos of all the mischief and magic of camp
  • Virtual volunteer: join interactive calls with the families, help facilitate the activity, have fun and encourage everyone else to do the same!

Get in touch with us at: volunteering@otw.org.uk or explore our website to find out more about our volunteer opportunities.