The National Institute of Mental Health finds one in five youth, 13 to 18 years of age, experience a severe mental disorder during their lifetime. While many mental illnesses are treatable, the stigma of mental illness shames many into delaying or altogether forgoing treatment.
People with a mental or behavioral health condition need fellowship just as everyone else. Listed below are five opportunities for teenagers to sow their time volunteering with those in need and reap fellowship in return.
With more than million members, Dosomething.org is a great website for teenagers to discover and join a volunteer opportunity. The organization has a large variety of opportunities, in mental health and other fields, for teenagers throughout America. There are even programs offering volunteers a chance to win scholarships for college. The mental health volunteer opportunities do not require much skill; helping to give those in need companionship, support and hope.
The Children’s Center
Located in Salt Lake City, The Children’s Center, gives youth and families in need a new start. Offering the opportunity for individual volunteers or their families to brighten the children’s experience. The volunteer opportunities can include cleaning toys, helping out with activity sessions and providing child care during social skills groups. This center promotes behavioral and mental health growth in children. Teenagers involved can gain volunteer hours and college credit, while also helping children in need.
The Intermountain Utah Valley Regional Medical Center
The Intermountain Utah Valley Regional Medical Center is in need of volunteers to spend time with patients. Through the Junior Volunteers Program, people between the ages of 14 and 17 years can volunteer to spend time with patients and complete an array of other tasks. This social interaction with patients can benefit their overall condition. While the position will be determined on age and personal skill set of the volunteer, this is an excellent opportunity to help those in need build social skills and gain experience for one’s resume.
Friendly Neighborhood Senior Center
Operated by the Salt Lake County Aging and Adult Services, the Friendly Neighborhood Senior Center welcomes volunteers of all ages to offer services and skills to the elderly. Volunteers engage in fun activities with the residents to keep the days lively and entertaining. The program does not need experts in a specific field, they need volunteers willing to interact with residents. Simply having someone to spend time with can help increase the senior’s mood and overall health. Volunteers can brighten another’s day along with their own and add this experience to their resume.
American Red Cross Youth Services Program
With three meeting locations throughout the Utah region, the American Red Cross Youth Services Program, allows teenagers and young adults opportunities to help the community. The program builds leadership skills, promotes community involvement, gives experience for a resume and benefits society as a whole. Teenagers can learn CPR, assist veterans or become a disaster services volunteer. Teenagers interested can join the group for a single project or become a volunteer intern.
Volunteer work is an excellent opportunity to help the community. For teenage boys dealing with substance abuse or mental health issues, the sense of community may be lost on them. White River Academy is not a continuation school, but a new path and fresh start for troubled teens, ages 12 to 17. The program teaches boys community values through disciplined education and positive peer culture. Integrated treatment includes dual diagnosis of mental disorders and addictions, cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectal behavioral therapy, to name a few of our modalities. For more information or to register, feel free to call our 24/7 helpline.