22 February 2022

Mind Australia volunteer Simone Gill says it’s the little things that make a big difference when working with people experiencing mental health and wellbeing concerns.

Ms Gill is a volunteer coordinator for Mind’s Partnership and Linkage Service (PALS), which connects clients in the northern, western and inner-city suburbs of Melbourne with volunteers who help build their confidence as part of their mental health recovery journey.

“It’s a real privilege being able to offer this amazing support to people experiencing mental ill-health,” Ms Gill said.

“Small gestures of friendship, such as a volunteer celebrating a client’s birthday, can be significant for the client.

“Hearing their feedback about how much the program means to them is very heart-warming.”

Clients and PALS volunteers meet up fortnightly, for social activities such as going out for a coffee, shopping, or exercise.

A PALS volunteer works to support the client by actively listening, and encouraging them – slowly building confidence and capability.

“Our work makes a difference because the relationship with the volunteer may be the first experience of friendship that the client has had in quite some time.

“This opens up opportunities for the client such as reconnecting with their community, doing new things that they may not have otherwise tried, and strengthening their social skills.”

Mind CEO Gill Callister said volunteers are an integral part of the mental health and wellbeing journey for many Mind clients.

“Quite simply, our volunteers are amazing. They generously and selflessly give their time to engage with Mind’s many clients, helping us to support people experiencing mental health and wellbeing concerns to find help, hope and purpose in their lives.

“The work that our PALS volunteers undertake - providing regular support and encouragement during social activities - plays a crucial role in strengthening mental health and wellbeing for people who may be experiencing social isolation."

For more information on PALS and volunteer positions call Mind Connect on 1300 286 463 or send us a message via the Mind website.