Experiences of volunteering: a partnership between service users and a mental health service in the UK.

FEGAN, Colette and COOK, Sarah (2012). Experiences of volunteering: a partnership between service users and a mental health service in the UK. Work (Reading, Mass.), 43 (1), 13-21.

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Link to published version:: 10.3233/WOR-2012-1443

Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate how people with serious mental illness perceived the experience of volunteering for the health care organisation in which they had received a service. The study took a qualitative approach and in phase one, eleven service user volunteers were purposefully sampled and interviewed. In depth interviews were analysed using grounded theory. This paper describes the findings from phase one, and highlights the following themes to represent the volunteering experience: 1) rehearsing for a new direction; 2) treading carefully at first; 3) discovering my new self; and, 4) using my experience and extending relationships. These themes further support a tentative theoretical framework that considers supported volunteering to enhance recovery because it fosters positive risk taking and gives individuals a valued identity that integrates their mental health experience. In phase two, this framework will be tested with service users in more diverse volunteer positions. The findings of my study suggest that mental health services are in a unique position to build partnerships with service users to support their recovery and journeys toward employment by providing opportunities for volunteering.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Health and Social Care Research
Identification Number: 10.3233/WOR-2012-1443
Depositing User: Helen Garner
Date Deposited: 17 Apr 2013 14:42
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2013 14:42
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6892

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