Sarah - Volunteer

Sarah's Story

Sarah started volunteering at Ontario Shores when she returned home from University. She appreciates the hands-on experience and values the connections she has made with patients, saying that they have taught her more about herself than she has taught them.

Text Transcript

Sarah: I started volunteering at Ontario Shores when I came back from University. I was looking to start volunteering again, and I wanted to do something really meaningful and interesting.

I have always been interested in mental health, and services revolving around mental health. So when I found Ontario Shores online, and that they accepted volunteers I submitted my application right away.

I really enjoy volunteering at Ontario Shores because it’s a real hands-on experience. I’ve had a chance to work directly with patients, and I haven’t had the chance to do that in any other volunteering opportunities that I've experienced in the past.

I love how there are many different activities to do with the patients. Besides working in your own specific unit there are dances, chocolate parties, summer parties, and it’s a lot of fun. You get to meet a lot more patients as well.

I also volunteered in therapeutic recreation in FRU when I first started at the hospital. I had the opportunity to take the patients to the gym, to participate in sporting activities with them,  which was really great and I think it’s a very integral part of the recovery process.

Often, when I tell people that I volunteer at a mental health facility they kind of say "oooh, how is that?" I tell them it’s wonderful. People need to realize that the stigma surrounding mental illness is very harmful.

If people were able to volunteer and do things that I have been able to at this hospital they would realize so much more about the health facility and the progress that patients can make just by being here.

I would love to encourage others to volunteer here at Ontario Shores, it’s a great experience, and whether you are in university or whether you are working it’s a great place to be.

You meet a lot of fantastic people the people. The people I have worked with in volunteer services are amazing and patients are wonderful.

They have actually taught me more then I feel like I have taught them about myself, so I really encourage people to come and volunteer at Ontario Shores.

Narrator: 1 in 4 Canadians are affected by mental illness at some point in their lives.  For more information about mental illness or Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences, visit www.ontarioshores.ca.