"Another reason why I love volunteering with Clic is because it helps me too – I’m still human and have periods where I’m struggling, and to have that support there 24/7 makes such a big difference. "
I started volunteering for Clic in December 2021 as I’m really passionate about mental health through my first and second hand experience of it. I’m aware of how difficult it is to receive NHS-funded care quickly in the UK at the moment due to long waiting times and varying access to services across the UK. When I learnt that Clic was completely free, run by volunteers and moderated by fully-qualified professionals (and that I wouldn’t even have to leave my sofa to make a difference to someone’s day) it was a no-brainer.
One of the barriers I’ve always found to volunteering has been accessibility – there’s so many ways to volunteer but many still rely on you turning up to a specific location in-person, and sometimes that’s just not possible if you rely on public transport or have mobility issues. I have a chronic condition which means sometimes I can’t be on my feet all day or do much physical work, so many volunteering opportunities just aren’t suitable for me. That and the pandemic meant that I hadn’t been able to volunteer in a way that is mutually beneficial to me and those I’d be helping. This was difficult, especially knowing that many people needed help and support from volunteers in their communities – it made me feel quite helpless. I think that’s why Clic is so good, you don’t have to worry about showing up or looking the part or anything – just log onto your device at any time of day (or night!) and chat to like-minded people.
The part I love most about volunteering with Clic is seeing how your comments and advice can affect users positively. The main task of any volunteer is to ensure all posts and comments are replied to, so every user who comes onto Clic will have their voices heard which is paramount when you’re struggling. The feeling you get when someone says ‘thank you’, or when you’ve had a productive conversation even about everyday topics like hobbies, is unbeatable and no doubt raises my mood as well. I know that science tells us that helping others does something to our brain to make us feel good, and while I’m no scientist I can attest to that from my own experience with Clic!
Every user who comes onto Clic will have their voices heard which is paramount when you’re struggling
Another reason why I love volunteering with Clic is because it helps me too – I’m still human and have periods where I’m struggling, and to have that support there 24/7 where sometimes all you need is for someone to tell you ‘I hear you’ makes such a big difference. Having that support at all hours makes you feel more connected to the outside world, even when you can’t physically go there yourself.
What stands out for me is the positive impact I’ve had creating my own threads and topics of conversation. For example, on behalf of Skipton’s partnership with Mental Health UK, we created and ran a forum specifically about the link between mental health and money, and that generated so many interesting discussions around how closely one can impact the other. I learnt some great tips from users as well, like budgeting and using apps that automatically round up your payments and pop the difference into a savings pot without you having to think about it!
I also created a thread asking for recommendations on feel-good film and TV, as it’s something I rely on when I’m struggling! So I thought I’d ask the Clic community what they watch that improves their mood, and I’ve now got a huge list of fantastic recommendations to get stuck into. I think one of the best things I’ve learned through Clic is that often it’s the normal chats about everyday things that can help give perspective and foster that human connection, which helps make us feel less isolated from the world. It means that users can turn to Clic to bond and connect with others about more than just their mental health. This is so key because we are all more than our mental health, and we all deserve to find joy in life – just because we may be struggling doesn’t mean we can’t still have a laugh and enjoy sharing pics of our cute pets!
My experience of Clic has definitely helped me become a better listener – it’s so easy to jump to finding a solution when a friend comes to you with a problem, and sometimes that may be what they want from you, but sometimes they might just want you to listen and really hear what they’re saying.
Keeping the conversation going, whilst giving them space to direct it whichever way they want to is a really key skill I’ve learned that has definitely transferred into my personal and professional life!
Clic is there for you 24/7, it’s anonymous (if you want it to be), accessible from every corner of the UK and is absolutely fantastic if you just need to talk to someone who gets it. No matter how big or small, whether it’s about how you’re feeling or if you just want to share a little success you’ve had that day with people who understand, don’t be afraid to log on to tell us all about it.
As for volunteering with the service, it has been one of my highlights over the past few months. We’ve created a community of volunteers at Skipton, who support each other and raise awareness of the Clic service across the organisation. It always helps to remember that every reply you send on Clic makes a difference to someone, somewhere.