There is growing evidence from smaller evaluative studies in the USA and anecdotal papers in the UK that supported volunteering can help recovery and can be a pathway into paid work for people with serious and fluctuating mental health conditions. It allows the person to take risks and test out a working environment. This opportunity can integrate their experience of mental illness into a valued identity and provides opportunities to engage with a world of work. We recommend that mental health professionals consider ways of providing volunteering opportunities as part of a recovery-oriented service within their organisations.
Appreciate the benefits patients gain from volunteering.
Understand the principles of a supported volunteering scheme.
Appreciate the potential value to the patient of volunteering within health and social care settings.