The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program has developed a training package for its volunteers to help them manage and reduce the stress this work can lead to.
The Program’s Coordinator, Jennie Keioskie, said research indicated that volunteering had many benefits, but it could lead to stress and fatigue.
“Educating volunteers on how to identify, manage and prevent stress and fatigue is critical to ensuring the continued growth of our valuable volunteering workforce,” Ms Keioskie said.
The comprehensive training package Volunteer Wellbeing will be rolled out to organisations during National Volunteer Week from 21-27 May 2018, with the national theme Give a little. Change a lot.
The training provides useful tips, videos and facts to help manage and reduce volunteer stress and how to look after your own mental health and wellbeing; as well as others.
“Our coordinators often work with communities facing adversity such as bushfires, floods and drought and are only too aware of the extra challenges and stress that volunteering can bring,” Ms Keioskie said.
“We know that the further we let stress or fatigue go with no intervention the worse it can become, and the longer it will take to recover.
“It is important to recognise when people are not coping with their mental health, how to have the conversation and how you can help.”
Rural Adversity Mental Health Program Coordinators are encouraging community organisations to provide this one-hour free training session to their volunteers as part of their duty of care.
In 2016, over 43 per cent of Australians volunteered which accounts for 932 million volunteering hours and is equivalent to 500,000 full time roles*.
If you have any concerns about yourself or a loved one, please contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511 (free call for landlines) or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
*Volunteering Australia 2016 Media Release About RAMHPThe Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) is a major program of the Universityof Newcastle Centre for Rural and Remote Mental Health, in partnership with each of therural NSW Health Districts, and is funded by the NSW Ministry of Health. RAMHP works toaddress the short and long-term mental health needs of rural and remote communities inNSW by linking people to the help they need.