For Mental Health Awareness Week, previous WASSUP volunteer and current staff member Amber shared her take on why getting involved in youth social action is so good for mental health.

‘For many, there is stigma attached to mental health. We come from a society and culture in Britain where we do not openly talk about mental health. This lack of communication may be experienced in school, family life and sometimes our own communities. We tend not to talk about our problems and have the mentality of a stiff upper lip, pulling our socks up and getting on with it.

I was part of a volunteering community with Volunteering Matters (then CSV) in Ipswich from a young age, and I found that many volunteers had a fairly transparent take on discussing mental health. Being surrounded by people who cared about social action and openly talked about their mental health, good or bad, made me fortunate enough to recognise how important it is to be open. Having such a diverse community within CSV meant that many were able to share their narrative and experiences, giving me a different outlook on mental health.

This outlook was important in my later volunteering with WASSUP, as I realised that being able to identify with other young people’s mental health issues allowed me to have important conversations that our culture may otherwise not have acknowledged. The sense of belonging and community that WASSUP brings allows other young people to have their voice heard in a safe space whilst being able to shape the community around them.

Being an active volunteer and from being a Volunteer Manger I recognise how important mental health is and how to be open about it. From this starting point we can help build resilience within our volunteers, empower them to become active members of their community and give them the space to be undoubtedly themselves.’

Amber shared her story with us over on the case studies section of the website. Read more about her involvement on the project here:

Being part of WASSUP