Charlotte's story: I understand how it feels to just need someone to talk to
Charlotte previously used the Shout service when she was struggling with her own mental health. Now studying to be a mental health nurse and giving her time as a Shout Volunteer, Charlotte provides the same support she experienced to other texters - validating their feelings and enabling them to move forward with the resources that benefit them the most.
In her own words, Charlotte explains why she loves volunteering for a digital-based mental health organisation and shares the most rewarding aspects of being a Shout Volunteer.
What made you decide to become a Shout Volunteer?
Becoming a Shout Volunteer was something I’d often thought about but it took me a while to take the plunge - life can be hectic at times! When I started studying to become a mental health nurse in 2021, I knew that it was the right time to become a volunteer.
As someone who had used the service in the past when I was struggling, I wanted to help people understand that their feelings are only temporary. I understand how it feels to be in a dark place and to just need someone to talk to.
What do you find most rewarding about being a Shout Volunteer?
What I find most rewarding is knowing I’ve helped the texter to see that how they’re feeling in the moment is valid, but those feelings don’t last forever. Texters have told me that I’ve made them see that there is hope for them, and that talking to someone who understands is just what they needed. When a texter thanks me, it makes me happy to know I’ve made them feel better.
What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced?
Sometimes, texters don’t necessarily know what support they need. I find that building up rapport and seeing what’s going on in their life that led them to text in helps, as I can then give them resources and support that will benefit and help them the most.
How do you find volunteering for a digital-based organisation?
I absolutely love it! My university degree is remote, so being a volunteer who is also digital-based works brilliantly. I can volunteer whenever I’m available and can do it from the comfort of my PJs with a cuppa!
Would you recommend becoming a Shout Volunteer? Why?
I really would recommend it! Being a mental health volunteer is so rewarding. It can be daunting when you first start but the training really helps. Having your supervisor on hand and having other volunteers to talk to is brilliant, too. You can talk to them about how a conversation has made you feel and it makes you realise that you’re not alone in your feelings.