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Volunteering can contribute to positive mental health in young people

TimeGivers wanted to share the results of this article we read recently which highlights evidence that volunteering can significantly contribute to the health and well-being of young people.

Volunteering is a great way to give back, with wider benefits that affect not only the community, but also have a profound impact on the individuals involved. Studies have shown that people who volunteer regularly experience a boost of overall well-being, including reduced stress and depression, improved self-esteem, and a greater sense of purpose. Bearing these results in mind, think of the impact this has on our younger generation if similar benefits are experienced when they also participate in volunteering? Since TimeGivers' key focus is on connecting the younger generation back to their communities and engaging them in volunteering - we’re always interested in research about the wider positive impacts volunteering can have on mental health.

Studies undertaken in the US which are discussed in the article below found that volunteering was associated with higher odds of good health in children and adolescents, with lower odds of anxiety and behavioural problems.

One of the main benefits of volunteering is the sense of connection and community it provides. When you volunteer, you have the opportunity to meet new people and form relationships with others who share your values and interests. This can be especially beneficial for those who may be struggling with feelings of isolation or loneliness. Volunteering helps provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment. By giving young people the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of others, it can help young individuals develop empathy, and gain a deeper sense of purpose and happiness. Giving back can be incredibly fulfilling, and a stronger sense of self can also combat feelings of depression and improve self-esteem and confidence. When you volunteer, you have the opportunity to develop new skills and take on new challenges. This can be a great way to build confidence and feel more capable and competent. Stepping back from your everyday life and focusing on doing something different can be a great way to take your mind off of any problems or stressors you may be facing. Engaging in volunteer work can help children cope with stress and reduce the risk of mental health issues.

In conclusion, volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, while also benefiting your own mental health and wellbeing by improving feelings of connection, providing a sense of purpose, improving self-esteem and building life skills. As parents, educators, and community members, we must encourage and support children and adolescents in their volunteer efforts. By fostering a culture of giving and empathy, we pave the way for a generation of compassionate, resilient, and socially responsible individuals who will make a positive impact on the world.

A link to the article is posted below: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2805381

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