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10 Places You Can Volunteer to Support Mental Health

Posted By Volunteer Toronto, December 15, 2017
 Ask Kelly Banner

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes | Written by Kasandra James

 

Mental health and mental illness affect people from all walks of life and in countless ways. While confronting mental health can be overwhelming, there are many ways to support mental health as a volunteer and make an impact in other’s lives. Check out these Toronto organizations and find out how you can give your time, skills and abilities to support their mental health programs:

 

Cota supports adults with mental health and cognitive challenges, helping them to live well within their communities. They provide services including supportive housing, short-term residential beds and day programs.

  • Location: Numerous sites across Toronto
  • How you can volunteer: Cota is often recruiting Adult Day Services Assistants who engage clients in meaningful activities to explore their strengths and develop new skills.

Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood and Community Health Centre is a multi-service agency in Toronto’s West End, providing health and community support services for infants, children, youth and seniors.

  • Location: Davenport Road and Old Weston Road 
  • How you can volunteer: As a Community Dining Assistant, you’ll help with set-up, clean-up and cooking for Wednesday community dinners. 

Family Service Toronto helps people facing a variety of life challenges, by assisting families and individuals through counselling, community development, advocacy and public education programs.

  • Location: Numerous sites across Toronto
  • How you can volunteer: As an Options Program Tutor and Life Skills Coach, you’ll maintain a supportive, friendly relationship with individuals who face mental health challenges. 

Fred Victor fosters long-lasting positive change in the lives of homeless and low-income people living across Toronto. Their services include: affordable housing, emergency shelter, job training and counselling, and community mental health outreach and services.

  • Location: Downtown East, multiple sites
  • How you can volunteer: Arts/Craft Instructors conduct weekly sessions with community members. 

Massey Centre is an infant and early childhood mental health organization supporting pregnant and parenting adolescents, aged 13-25, and their babies. Their programs include pre-and-post natal residential care, primary health care and maternal infant mental health.

  • Location: Broadview Avenue and Danforth Avenue
  • How you can volunteer: Parent Relief Volunteers provide basic child care while young mothers take much-needed breaks or run errands. 

Senior Persons Living Connected (SPLC) provides programs and services that meet the diverse needs of older adults and their caregivers. Services include seniors housing, counselling and social, recreational and fitness programs.

  • Location: Warden Avenue and Finch Avenue
  • How you can volunteer: Friendly Visitors spend time with seniors, engaging in conversation and leisure activities. 

SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health (formerly The Hincks-Dellcrest Centre) combines prevention, treatment, research and education to support children, youth and families facing mental health challenges.

  • Location: Keele St. and Sheppard Avenue West or Jarvis St. and Wellesley St. East
  • How you can volunteer: Research Assistants contribute to CCMH’s inter-disciplinary, evidenced-based mental health treatment and support system. 

The Gatehouse provides support, community and resources for individuals impacted by childhood sexual abuse, including an Investigation Support Program, Art Therapy and the Transforming Trauma Conference.

  • Location: Lakeshore Blvd. and Kipling Avenue
  • How you can volunteer: Give your time as a Peer Support Group Facilitator, supporting those impacted by childhood sexual abuse. 

Victim Services Toronto provides immediate crisis response, intervention and prevention services to individuals, families and communities affected by crime and sudden tragedies. Programs include The Trauma Dog Program, High Risk Support Services and Teens Ending Abusive Relationships (TEAR).

  • Location: Yonge St. and College St.
  • How you can volunteer: Crisis Counsellor Volunteers work alongside professional crisis counsellors to support victims in Toronto. 

Yorktown Family Services is dedicated to providing effective, accessible, quality mental health treatment, prevention and outreach services to children, youth, women and families. The agency is divided into a Child and Family Centre and a Shelter for Women and their children, fleeing abusive relationships.

  • Location: Dufferin St. and Eglinton Avenue West 
  • How you can volunteer: Walk-In Clinic Counsellors bring their professional counselling experience to the Family Centre and Shelter, on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. 

Is your perfect volunteer role not in this list? Most of these organizations have multiple volunteer opportunities, so make sure you visit their websites to find out more. If you still can’t find the right fit, search Volunteer Toronto’s database using the keywords “mental health” or contact a Volunteer Advisor at 416-961-6888 x 232 or advisors@volunteertoronto.ca.

 

Tags:  Abuse Stories  Activism  Activists  Anti-Bulling  Frequently Asked Questions  friendly visitor  Give Back  health care volunteer positions  How to give back  How to start volunteering  how to volunteer  How to volunteer in Toronto  Leadership  Make a Difference  Mental Health  Mentorship  Questions about volunteering  skilled volunteering  Skills  Toronto volunteers  types of volunteer positions  Volunteer  Volunteer in Toronto  volunteer leaders  Volunteer questions  Volunteering  volunteering in Toronto  Volunteerism  Ways to volunteer 

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Spending Time with Seniors isn’t Old News

Posted By Volunteer Toronto, December 21, 2015
 

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 


Like it or not, Canada’s population is rapidly aging. Statistics Canada found that for the first time, there are more persons aged 65 years and older in Canada than children aged 0 to 14 years. So what does this mean for you? Instead of searching for signs of grey in your hair, take a moment to consider spending time with senior citizens in your community.

 
Give Something Back

Canadians aged 65-74 give the most hours annually to volunteer causes. People in this age group recognize the importance of participating in community efforts and spending time with people in need. So why not return the favour?


Understanding the Elderly

As people age, life can change significantly. Mobility and health issues may become more prominent and lifestyle changes often occur. Since some elderly people aren’t able to engage in the same activities they used to, they can easily feel marginalized.

In fact, depression amongst seniors is common. The Mood Disorders Society of Canada found that 5% to 10% of seniors will experience a depressive disorder that is serious enough to require treatment and the rate of anxiety and depression dramatically increases to 30% to 40% for seniors living in institutions. It also found that chronic pain, living alone without a supportive network, and death of loved ones can be contributing factors to depression among senior citizens, so engaging with elderly citizens in a volunteer capacity can be an important preventative measure.


Getting Social

There are a variety of ways to get involved with senior citizens. Participating in social activities—whether with individuals or groups of elderly—can be extremely rewarding and provide a strong support system for seniors who may feel isolated.

Something as simple as volunteering to be a conversation partner, or lending your talents at a long-term elderly care facility, can make a significant difference in a senior’s life. Many seniors organizations look for Friendly Visitors to meet and chat with residents every week to improve their social activities. And if you’re able to play a musical instrument, there are often roles that involve performing for residents to bring some fun and entertainment to their lives.

Also assisting seniors who may need help with routine activities is another good way to get involved, whether through formal volunteering or simply helping an older relative or neighbour. You could help an elderly person with:

  • Yard work,
  • Minor household maintenance,
  • Gardening and landscaping,
  • Grocery shopping,
  • Computer literacy and written communication, and
  • Accompaniment to appointments and errands.


Let’s not forget that senior citizens are an important part of Canadian society. At best, seniors are honoured and celebrated. At worst, they are considered a burden or are purposefully ignored.  Spending time volunteering with seniors affirms the fact that everyone should be valued and cared for, regardless of age. Take a trip to our volunteer opportunities board and do a keyword search of “seniors” to see how you can positively impact a senior’s life today!

 

Tags:  friendly visitor  how to volunteer with seniors  senior care  seniors home  volunteer with the elderly  volunteering with seniors  why volunteer with seniors 

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