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Volunteering Can Mitigate Depression and Anxiety

Volunteering Can Mitigate Depression and Anxiety

There’s no doubt about it: volunteering is good for you. When you share your time and talents with others, you also receive benefits in return. Whether it’s experience for a resume, connections for a career or simply the affirmation of helping a fellow human being, volunteering impacts your own life as much as the lives of others.

In fact, volunteering has even been known to mitigate depression and anxiety concerns. Mental health plays a critical role to well being. This means if you suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental ailments, even daily functions can be incredibly difficult. Fortunately, recent studies have shown how volunteering with people or a cause you care about can actually mitigate depression and anxiety issues. Here’s how.

Volunteering connects you with others.
One of the greatest struggles in dealing with depression or anxiety is the feeling of loneliness. Oftentimes, people who face these ailments feel like they are completely alone in an uphill battle. On the other hand, the greatest benefit of volunteering is the social connections it includes. Despite the constant correspondence our society experiences through technology, a nationwide survey by Cigna found that more than half of respondents feel lonely. 

Fifty-four percent said they feel like no one actually knows them, 56% believe people around them “are not necessarily with them” and 40% said they “lack companionship.” This loneliness plays a significant role in our overall mental health. However, through consistent volunteering with an organization or cause you care about, you can generate genuine, authentic relationships with like-minded people. These relationships can alleviate the feeling of loneliness, and positively influence your struggle with depression or anxiety.

Volunteering promotes physical activity.
When we feel lonely, depressed or anxious, oftentimes our natural inclination is to curl up in a ball, stay at home and avoid the outside world. However, this response only negatively influences our mental health further. In fact, physical health greatly affects our mental health, and vice versa. Because every aspect of the body operates together as one unit, focusing on physical activity can oftentimes boost your mental health, as well.

By volunteering, you create one more potential avenue for physical activity. Even if it’s simply walking down to the local library to host a children’s story time, by getting up, leaving the house and being active, you can help alleviate depression and anxiety. In fact, studies have also found that people who regularly volunteer have a lower mortality rate, are less likely to develop high blood pressure and have better thinking skills. While physical activity through volunteering might not cure depression or anxiety, it can play a role in soothing the concerns.

Volunteering changes your perspective.
If you have ever struggled with mental health, then you know the constant negative perspective you might experience. When you feel depressed or anxious, oftentimes those feelings are the only thing you can focus on. Sometimes, when we experience these feelings, all we need is a shift in our perspective. Volunteering does just that. 

Volunteering gives you the opportunity to interact with different people, circumstances and causes around you, causing a natural shift in how you see your own life. For instance, sharing your talents with people in need might positively change your mindset to recognize you do have useful skills to offer. Volunteering also provides a valuable sense of purpose. No matter how old you are or where you are in life, helping others gives you feelings of purpose, perspective and belonging, which can greatly diminish the struggle with depression and anxiety. 

Mental health has an incredible impact on our lives. If you wrestle with depression, anxiety or other mental ailments, you know how difficult it can be to simply go through the day. Volunteering can help. While volunteering might not cure every mental health struggle, it can play a positive role in mediating it. Try it out and see how volunteering impacts your life.

Our Impact in 2018

January 1-December 31
  • CAPSA is a non-profit domestic violence, sexual abuse, and rape recovery center serving Cache County and the Bear Lake area.

  • YCC Family Crisis Center is a domestic violence shelter and rape crisis center provide services 24/7 to victims and their children.

  • Utah Legal Services (ULS) is a nonprofit law office incorporated in 1976 committed to making equal justice a reality by providing free legal help in non-criminal cases to low-income Utahns.

  • South Valley Services is a domestic violence service provider in West Jordan, Utah. We provide safe shelter and supportive services to women, men and their children who have been impacted by domestic violence.

  • Today, the YWCA is Utah’s most comprehensive provider of family violence services; our programs include walk-in services and a crisis line, emergency shelter, transitional housing, children’s programs, and a vast array of supportive services.

  • Established in 1990, Seekhaven assists survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault rebuild their lives. Serving Grand County and Southeastern Utah, Seekhaven provides a wide range of essential services including client advocacy, emergency shelter, and transition assistance.

  • Peace House is dedicated to ending family violence and abuse through education, outreach, support services, and safe housing.

  • New Hope Crisis Center has been serving Box Elder County for 30 years. Our mission is to provide all-inclusive, integrated, victim-centered services to stabilize and support individuals, families, and our community.

  • Founded in 1984, The Center for Women and Children in Crisis has been in continuous operation for 33 years. Our mission is to provide a caring, advocating, safe, and educationally based environment for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

  • Our organization advocates for victims of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault, and the homeless. Serving people in Sevier, Piute, Millard, Sanpete and Wayne counties of Utah.

  • The DOVE Center is the only area agency providing safe-shelter, crisis intervention, and prevention for clients who have been victimized by violence in their home – whether by a family member or cohabitant – that also serves victims of rape and sexual assault.

  • Founded in 1922, Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake is a non-profit organization that promotes safety, stability and self-sufficiency for low income families and individuals, as well as victims of domestic violence, through effective, efficient legal advocacy and assistance.

  • Canyon Creek Services provides free and confidential services for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Iron, Beaver and Garfield Counties.

  • Valley Behavioral Health is a nonprofit network of clinics providing treatment for behavioral conditions, addictions, psychiatric conditions, autism and other chronic health conditions. We treat chronic lifelong conditions as well as temporary conditions triggered by traumatic life events. Our programs are tailored to people of all ages and every social, cultural and economic situation.

  • Preserve the heritage. Enhance the wellbeing. Strengthen the future of the People.

  • Our Mission: To bring hope, justice, and healing to victims of domestic violence murder by providing holistic non-profit legal representation in the civil, probate and family courts.

  • At Amethyst Center for Healing we are dedicated to helping individuals, families, and communities recover from trauma and abuse, so that we may all live peaceful, empowered lives.

  • Safe Harbor, a non-profit organization, provides shelter, supportive services and advocacy to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as education, awareness and resources to our community.

© 2019 Utah Domestic Violence Coalition

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