Getting Started Volunteering with Mental Health Patients
There are many ways a volunteer can help out those living with mental health issues. If you have a willingness to help, your unique skills, traits and availability can likely be put to very good use. There are several ways you can find volunteer opportunities:
- Call or visit a local treatment facility or hospital. Most mental health clinics and substance-abuse facilities have volunteer coordinators that can help fit your particular skills and interests to an ongoing volunteer program on site.
- Contact Mental Health America. Mental Health America is a national nonprofit organization that focuses on mental health advocacy and education. Mental Health America can help you find your local Mental Health Association, which are nonprofit affiliates that can help you connect with volunteer opportunities.
- Check out VolunteerMatch.org. VolunteerMatch is a large online resource that helps pair volunteers and nonprofits around the nation. After listing your city or ZIP code, this service will provide a list of available volunteer opportunities, many of which are related to the mental health field.
- Use state or local government resources. You can find volunteer opportunities and resources by contacting your state's Department of Health and Human Services. You can do this in person, by phone or online. Your city or county government will also have staff members who are able to point you in the right direction when it comes to volunteering with local mental health care providers and agencies.
On the next page, we'll talk about possible volunteer opportunities.