Mental Health: New Perspective on Volunteering
by DanielaSpinelli on May 14, 2014 - 11:24pm
If you’re reading this, I am assuming you’re interested in mental health. If so, I have posted many news articles about individuals whose mental health was at risk. I began researching and posting mainly on children who are victims of sexual abuse. For example, click here for a link to my post about a child that was sexually victimized by her middle school teacher. My research on children with mental illnesses led me to post about adults who experience traumatic events and end up having long-term psychological scars. For example, click here for a link to my post on a women who was repeatedly raped by countless men in India and now suffers from mental illnesses. Gradually, I started to become more concerned with individuals from here, in Montreal, and their mental well-being. Specifically, I decided to educate myself and others about the variety of mental illnesses aboriginals are suffering from. For the past three weeks, I have been volunteering at an aboriginal shelter in downtown Montreal called “Projects Autochtones du Québec”. Click here for my post on the “Projects Autochtones du Québec”.
The past three Fridays, I have experienced three one hour shifts of serving meals to the shelter’s participants. My task involved serving the preferred meal to the participant and maintaining a friendly atmosphere. Throughout my shifts, I was encouraged by the PAQ staff to interact with the participants and get to know their stories. I decided to volunteer at the PAQ because I wanted to obtain hands-on experience with aboriginals who are struggling with their mental health. I was able to understand the troubles each aboriginal participant has gone through and/or is going through. However, I was surprised to find out that my experience was not at all what I expected. I went in to the PAQ assuming I would be interacting with individuals who have hit “rock bottom” and who would be suffering from substance abuse which in turn would reinforced their mental illness(es). Surprisingly, participants at the PAQ are individuals who maintain a positive outlook on their lives and see the PAQ as their home and not just a place to sleep at night. Sure, the participants are struggling with their mental health given their homelessness and their rough pasts though, the shelter plays an important role for their mental health. I have come to learn that the PAQ is struggling to keep up with the increasing number of participant’s they’re receiving. In addition, volunteer help is extremely scarce at the PAQ, specifically the staff is in search of volunteers who are willing to help during their meal service time. I strongly recommend volunteering at the PAQ if you are interested in getting hands-on experience with aboriginals who have trouble keeping mentally fit but still manage to stay positive and keep strong. I have learned from my experience that even though mental illnesses can be difficult and scary to deal with, it is possible to overcome them with support from others.
If you are interested in supporting aboriginals improve their mental health please refer to the following link: http://newsactivist.com/en/news-summary/newsactivist-winter-2014/paq-org...
Volunteer Contact Information:
Tel: (514) 879-3310
Ask For: Wayne