Having previously used Shout and found it helpful, Avi referred friends who were struggling with their mental health to Shout during lockdown as an accessible, free service.
Continuing his journey, Avi went on to become a Shout Volunteer in 2022. The training gave him an appreciation for the importance of compassion, reflection and active listening - skills he now applies within his own relationships.
The most rewarding part of being a Shout Volunteer for Avi is knowing he’s helped someone after every shift:
I know that I have done my best to support others and that I have had an impact on their recovery journey.
What made you decide to become a Shout Volunteer?
During lockdown, the number of individuals struggling with their mental health was drastically rising and I found myself referring friends to Shout, having previously used the service myself when things were bad.
I noticed the urgent call for volunteers and wanted to give back to an amazing service which does so much good, to be part of something bigger than myself, and to feel a real sense of accomplishment and fulfilment by volunteering.
What do you find most rewarding about being a Shout Volunteer?
The most rewarding part of being a Shout Volunteer is knowing that I have helped somebody after each shift. It might not always be something that has a huge impact, it could just be helping someone feel less lonely when they are low, or helping a texter to find safer alternatives to self-harming.
It is such a rewarding sense of accomplishment and the rest of the team, including the supervisors, always make sure you know how well you have done!
What are some of the challenges you've experienced?
Occasionally, texters aren't sure what they want from the service. They know they need support but struggle to put their feelings into words, sometimes appearing disengaged from us trying to help. These chats can feel challenging. It is understandable that texters may feel this way, however, and we are trained to work through these difficulties and connect with texters compassionately to give them the support they deserve.
How do you find volunteering for a digital-based organisation?
I love it! Volunteering for an online organisation that is 24/7 gives me so much flexibility, I can choose to take shifts in the middle of the night, on a random Monday morning, or often extremely last minute if my schedule opens up. I love that there are no worries about having to travel to a physical location - I can help people from the comfort of my own home. When supporting individuals in distress, having this comfort and adaptability in your environment is so helpful to your own well-being.
Have you been able to use any of the training or skills you've developed as a Shout Volunteer in your day-to-day and/or professional life?
Absolutely, yes! Shout training is extremely comprehensive and has enabled me to understand the role of compassion, active listening, reflection and genuinely appreciating other people's struggles, something that I have applied within my own relationships.
I have also spoken about my volunteering within job interviews, which later led to offers and so volunteering for Shout has really increased my professional skills and abilities.
Would you recommend becoming a Shout Volunteer?
I can't recommend it enough, it is such a unique volunteering opportunity and the skills that can be gained are numerous. The role is for anybody looking to be part of a really rewarding service and able to spare just a couple of hours a week. You will be supported by an absolutely amazing team of staff and supervisors who are always there.
Even after a year of volunteering I find myself reaching out and receiving the same level of support and understanding from those I work with as I did on my very first shift.