Volunteering to improve your mental health

There’s a lot of talk in media, workplaces and society in general about the many ways we can support our wellbeing. But what about a practical, routine activity that you can implement into your life. Well, volunteering is a great activity you can do that is proven to improve your wellbeing and mental health.

“Just a few hours of volunteer work can improve your mood and outlook, while regular volunteering is associated with better overall mental health.”(1) 

Roughly 36% of adults in Australia volunteer each year contributing more than $200b to the Australian economy with their services and support to organisations and people in need.(2) There’s a lot of science and research supporting the benefits of volunteering as it helps people meet three key psychological needs: a sense of meaning, social connection and autonomy.(3)

Sense of meaning 

Volunteering can bring meaning and purpose to your life, a sense of achievement and contribution to the greater good. It can also help increase your self-esteem by identifying useful skills and talents you have that can support others, or provide you with the opportunity to develop new skills.  

Social connection 

By having a positive impact on and contributing to your community, it can help you feel like an important part of it. It can also help combat feelings of feelings of loneliness and isolation as you meet new people and feel connected. 


When it comes to volunteering, you choose what community, organisation and people you want to support. You might make this decision based on personal interests, skills or talents, or a personal experience or the one of a family member, friend or acquaintance. Ultimately it is up to you to choose where you wish to contribute your time and skills and what community you wish to support. 

The Helmsman Project volunteers are at the heart of everything we do. Our volunteers play a critical role in developing and implementing some of our key strategies, bringing a range of backgrounds and valuable skills to our organisation. In return, our volunteers have an incredibly rewarding experience inspiring and guiding young people towards a brighter future. 


1. https://www.headtohealth.gov.au/meaningful-life/purposeful-activity/volunteering 
2. https://www.volunteeringaustralia.org/wp-content/uploads/VA-Key-statistics-about-Australian-volunteering-16-April-20151.pdf 
3. https://www.teachermagazine.com/au_en/articles/volunteering-to-improve-wellbeing?utm_source=CM&utm_medium=Wellbeing&utm_campaign=9October 

The Helmsman Project

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