An Advocacy Focus volunteer talks about their experience

Why did I come to volunteer at Advocacy Focus?

I came to Advocacy Focus because I was looking to expand my experience of  mental health services. Volunteering with Advocacy Focus was a great opportunity because it allowed me to experience inpatient mental health services from a different perspective, one that is independent from the NHS. From the outset, staff from Advocacy Focus, were incredibly supportive. They made sure that I got the most out of my volunteering experience. Advocacy Focus recognised that I was in the middle of my master’s degreeand were incredibly flexible and understanding so that I could fit volunteering around my studies. 

How does volunteering help you with your studies or your own personal journey? 

Volunteering on the ward has given me a chance to be in an inpatient setting, which are  often hard to access. It has broadened my knowledge of mental health experiences of older adults and the Mental Capacity Act. This knowledge and experience has been helpful for my studies , my part-time role as a Mental Health Support Worker, and will continue to be helpful for the rest of my career. 

The role is centred around talking to the people we work with , listening to them, and finding out what they want and need. Within any service it is  vital that professionals recognise the views of the people they work with.  It has been refreshing to be able to focus solely on this – as that’s what advocacy is about! 

What would you say to other people thinking of volunteering? 

I think if you’re looking to broaden your knowledge and experience within mental health, this is a great opportunity – whether you have worked in mental health or not. 

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