Volunteering linked to fall in depression
Doing voluntary work could help the 12 million people in the UK who suffer from mental health problems combat stress and depression, campaigners said today.
A survey for charity Community Service Volunteers (CSV) found that half of those who had volunteered for more than two years (48%) said it made them feel less depressed.
The poll of more than 600 volunteers also found that 63% of 25 to 34-year-olds and 62% of over-65s said volunteering reduced stress levels.
The research comes ahead of CSV Make A Difference Day on Saturday, October 30, when around 100,000 people are expected to give their time to help improve their local communities.
CSV said volunteering had also been shown to have a big impact on work-related stress, which affects around five million adults in the UK and costs an estimated £3.7bn a year.
The poll also found that 71% of volunteers who offered their professional skills and experience said it helped combat depression. Almost a third (31%) of 18 to 24-year-olds also said they had taken less time off work since starting to volunteer.
TV health pundit Dr Hilary Jones, a supporter of the CSV campaign, said: ‘Nearly half of regular volunteers say that volunteering makes them feel less depressed. It’s clear that keeping physically and mentally active can often improve your state of mind. The research indicates that volunteering might help achieve this, especially if it’s done on a regular basis.’
Earlier findings released in the summer showed that volunteering also helped improve health and fitness, particularly among young people.
Source: Press Association