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Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place from 13-19 May. The Mental Health Foundation launched the annual initiative in 2001 to bring people in the UK together and focus on achieving good mental health.

One way to enhance your mental wellbeing is through volunteering. Volunteering can benefit people of all ages by creating purpose in your life, building social connections and increasing feelings of self-esteem. We are all familiar with the saying “it's better to give than receive” but this is actually backed up by research. Studies have found that the altruistic nature of helping or serving others can benefit our own mental health and wellbeing as well as that of others. It has been proved to reduce stress, improve mood and increase feelings of self-esteem and happiness. Engaging in volunteering activities also encourages us to be more active, which, in turn, can improve our self-esteem. There is also some evidence to suggest that when we do this, it can promote changes in the brain that are linked with happiness.

Giving up your own time to volunteer is essentially an act of kindness. There is some evidence that being aware of our own acts of kindness, as well as the things we are grateful for, can increase feelings of happiness, optimism and satisfaction.

Volunteering creates a sense of purpose and routine, which we all know from lockdown are essential ingredients for healthy wellbeing. It can also create a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation. It's a great way for people to create, maintain, and strengthen their social connections, make new friends and connect with their local communities!

Penicuik Storehouse, we offer a variety of volunteering opportunities in our community owned shop and café. In keeping with our ethos of inclusivity, we provide a non-judgemental space for people of all walks of life to gather and volunteer together. Opportunities include cooking, baking, working on the till, stock rotation, looking after the refillery, IT, marketing, DIY, decorating and

helping with specific projects.

Here is what some of our volunteers have to say about volunteering with us:

“I’ve got more confident talking to people and working with others”

“My anxiety over time has pretty much dissipated and overall it’s been a huge mental health


“I feel happy here”

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