After experiencing chronic health problems and her own mental health struggles, Charlotte felt inspired to help others in any way she could. Volunteering for Shout gave her a sense of purpose and confidence and has been the deciding factor in the type of career she now wants to pursue.
What made you decide to become a Shout Volunteer?
I have long suffered from chronic health problems, which in turn have affected my mental health. As my physical health improved, my mental health thankfully followed suit. A lot of people helped me on my journey, including friends, family, GPs and therapists, which has inspired me to help others in whatever way I can.
Shout has always been an amazing resource and when I realised I was well enough to train with them, I was ecstatic!
What do you find most rewarding?
Being able to help the texters in whatever way they need during their conversation. Some texters may be looking for resources, others might just need someone to listen and validate their feelings. A lot of texters have said just hearing that we’re here to do just that has made their day better. Of course, receiving feedback also makes me smile, knowing that I’ve helped support someone through a crisis point to feel calmer and have a plan to stay safe and well.
What are some of the challenges you've experienced?
One challenge I’ve experienced during my time as a Shout Volunteer has been when a texter is going through a very difficult time and they find it hard to open up to us. Sometimes this can make you feel like you haven’t been able to build rapport with them.
I’ve learned to understand that it’s not about me, it’s about the texter - they may not feel ready to be so open with me yet, so I follow their pace. The most important thing is, in that moment, you’re there for them in whatever way they feel comfortable with at the time.
How do you find volunteering for a digital organisation?
I love it as there is so much flexibility. Volunteering like this, alongside my course which is about to start, will make juggling my timetable a lot easier.
Shout has an amazing sense of community and I’m so proud to be a part of it.
Some people may think that because it’s a digital organisation, you might miss out on feeling part of a community, but this isn’t the case at all. Everyone, from fellow volunteers to shift supervisors and my coaches have been so lovely and accepting, giving me feedback and being there for me in general. Having only joined Shout a few months ago, I already feel a part of the community.
Have you been able to use any of the skills you've learnt in your day-to-day life?
The training and skills I’ve developed as a Shout Volunteer have helped me in a multitude of ways. One being my confidence, not just in myself but my confidence to help others.
My active listening skills have definitely gotten better which I think is beneficial not just for not daily life with family and friends, but also in a professional capacity.
Shout has been the deciding factor in which type of career I want.
Volunteering for Shout has inspired me to take my interests further by studying Psychology and Counselling at the Open University. I’m also about to undertake a CPCAB Level 2 course, to begin training to become a counsellor.
Would you recommend volunteering for Shout?
Being chronically ill, I struggled for a long time with believing I had no purpose. Shout has helped those feelings go away and I certainly feel like I am making a positive change to the world by being able to reach out and help each person I speak to.
Becoming a Shout Volunteer was one of the best decisions I’ve made in 2023. I'm so proud of myself for going through the training and becoming a volunteer.