14 June 2022

Mind Australia volunteer Coordinator Kevin Camilleri says the Partnership and Linking Service (PALS) offers people experiencing mental health and wellbeing concerns a “guiding hand back into the community”.

Mr Camilleri matches PALS volunteers with people in the northern, western and inner-city suburbs of Melbourne who are living with a diagnosable mental illness. 

A PALS volunteer assists a participant’s recovery journey by actively encouraging them to engage with their community through activities such as meet ups, exercise and sport, music or shopping.

“I think after two years of living through the pandemic it’s more apparent than ever how important a sense of community is,” Mr Camilleri said.

“A client’s connection with a PALS volunteer naturally brings them into the community. I have witnessed many wonderful transformations through my work, seeing clients often presenting as highly distrusting of the community and homebound, start to develop a sense of trust.”

A PALS volunteer works to support a client through fortnightly meet-ups, actively listening, encouraging and slowly building confidence and capability.

“Volunteering offers a service distinctly different to that of having a ‘worker’. For clients, having a volunteer can be a huge privilege, deeply aiding their trust in others,” Mr Camilleri said.

“Volunteering is an act of service, but without the monetary incentive. I’m proud that our program offers the community the opportunity to experience the power of altruistic service.”

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