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Volunteering, During a Pandemic, Can Help Meet Your Basic Needs

Volunteering has helped me not focus on my own problems and stay tunnel vision on issues relating to the pandemic. I’ve been volunteering with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) with their local chapter in Wake county. Volunteering has given me a new perspective on life and how we all have basic needs to be fulfilled. The basic needs that I’ve found relatable to others are finding purpose, sense of belonging, and to be understood.

Becoming a facilitator for one of NAMI’s virtual support groups, made me realize that people are also longing to understand challenges that mental illness can bring to the family as a whole. NAMI has a support group called Family-to-Family and it is for family members who have a loved one experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. As a facilitator, the goal is for me to support the group members gain more insight from challenges and successes of others facing similar experiences and provide a safe space to discuss and find relief or solutions together.

Each week family members join the support group to get a sense of belonging. They also find common ground with others, identifying that their challenges are not so uncommon. Since the pandemic, there are more and more mental health challenges that families are now experiencing more and more. For example, not having access to healthcare, limited mental health resources, and not enough public funding to research and find solutions for new mental health challenges, especially dealing with the pandemic.

Even through the chaos of the pandemic, I have found hope in coming together with other like minds to volunteer and help others dealing with similar challenges. If we could all come together to help one another, what a better place this world could be. By knowing that we all have the same basic needs, we can also relate with one another more. Volunteering during a pandemic has helped me meet my basics needs in my life.