Meet our volunteers: Joanna’s Story

Each year, the South London and Mausley NHS Foundation Trust are supported by around 400 volunteers across their services. The CAMHS Mentoring Project matches volunteers on a one-to-one basis with a child or young person currently using one of our services. The pair meet regularly to access community activities together and build a relationship. Volunteer mentors are someone the service user can have fun with, try new things with, and talk to for informal pastoral support.

Joanna, currently a volunteer, shares her experience of the project and how she believes the programme can support young people with their mental health.



CAMHS Volunteer Mentor

How long have you been volunteering and what interested you in the project?

I have been volunteering for over a year. I wanted to volunteer as a way for me to help young people who are embarking a difficult time in their life. I had learnt some theory during my degree and wanted to put these into practice during my time volunteering.

I found the initial training super useful and beneficial- it was in a comfortable environment where I was happy to openly talk and discuss my thoughts and feelings.

What have you learnt from the project? 

I am a student, and I felt taking part in this programme was a way for me to put my skills and knowledge into practice. I gained greater skills when it comes to working with service users, such as how to formulate sessions and goals. I gained confidence as well as learning new theory and skills to use when working with the young person.

What type of activities did you do with your mentee? How do you think they benefited from the experience?

I built a good relationship by ensuring I was listening empathetically, not pressuring the young person to talk if they don’t work, and ensuring each session is service-user led to make sure they feel comfortable and safe.

We talk about feelings. I use a colour emotion wheel to help the young person identify and discuss their feelings more easy. We focused on different goals and areas the young person wanted to work on. In my case it was confidence, self-esteem and independence.

Why should people take part in the mentoring programme?

I think it finds a way to get you own your comfort zone- to challenge yourself by focusing on how you can help someone else achieve their goals. It also helps learn new skills such as how to listen emphatically, build a rapport, working as part of a care team, and using your initiative when things get tough.

You can find out more information on how to join the CAMHS Mentoring Project and other volunteering schemes the South London and Maudsley Trust has to offer:


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