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:

Volunteer Contact Information:
Tel: (514) 879-3310

Ask For: Wayne




Nice post !!! Mental health is an interesting topic that I have also touched in a few of my news posts.It's also a sad topic to touch upon because most people don't want to help these individuals because of their conditions and the fact that they are hard to handle. The fact that they had a positive outlook on life was interesting to know because I would have assumed the opposite. Nice pictures added into your post .

I think that what you have done is great. I think that the most important part of your volunteering was the interaction you had with those people because even though they might be mixed up, giving them attention and listening to their stories can make them really happy. Making them happy is what keeps them aware of everything around them. I believe it’s the best way for them to keep in touch with the world. Moreover, my essay about concussions in sports was also related to mental illnesses since most players who have suffered multiple concussion get mental illnesses later on in their life.

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