MOTHERS HELPERS VOLUNTEERS AGREE GIVING MAKES YOU HAPPIER - CELEBRATING MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK
MOTHERS HELPERS VOLUNTEERS GIVE BACK TO CREATE HAPPIER MUMS, HAPPIER FAMILIES AND HAPPIER COMMUNITIES
MOTHERS HELPERS VOLUNTEERS GIVE BACK AND FEEL GREAT TO BE MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR COMMUNITIES
MOTHERS HELPERS VOLUNTEERS GAIN JOY FROM GIVING BACK
Today marks the first day of Mental Health Awareness Week
(MHAW), which runs from 5 – 11 October. The national campaign aims to raise awareness and understanding of mental
health and the services available. This year’s theme is GIVE
– Give your time, your words, your presence.
Giving back is at the heart of Mothers Helpers – a charity that operates nationwide to provide support and practical
help to prevent Postnatal Depression (PND) to at-risk mothers, and to assist mothers in their recovery from PND.
Kristina Paterson, founder of Mothers Helpers and a registered nurse of 15 years, knows first-hand how the act of giving
back can be incredibly fulfilling. "Second only to raising my son, starting Mothers Helpers and volunteering to help
hundreds of mothers over the past five years has been the most rewarding experience of my life. It is amazing to be part
of something that is so inspiring. The volunteers that work with me are part of a big family that is committed to the
cause of Mothers Helpers. I'm so proud of them and proud of the work that we do together. It is inspiring to see New
Zealanders donating their valuable time to something that is making a difference in peoples' lives out of the goodness
of their heart" says Kristina.
The organisation is made up of volunteers throughout the country from Northland to Invercargill. Volunteers fill roles
including facilitators for the ten week PND Recovery Programmes and six week Preparing for Parenthood Courses,
counsellors provide one-on-one sessions for mothers in need, area managers co-ordinate activities in their region,
in-home volunteers providing childcare respite or light housework to overwhelmed mums and then of course there’s the
back office functions of HR, IT, marketing and management committee members.
Administrator Kiri Windross says “I chose to volunteer with Mothers Helpers because I know there is not enough
government support for this debilitating illness, and it is an illness that can have a huge impact not only on mums, but
on children, fathers and the family unit in general. I also feel passionate about the fact that being supported by
people who understand what you are going through makes the journey of depression less lonely.”
Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly satisfying and creates connection
with the people around you. “There is a big difference between receiving help from someone who actually cares, as
opposed to receiving help from someone who is being paid to help you. It feels really good to know you are making a
difference,” adds Kiri.
Kiwis are one of the highest givers of their time through volunteering and helping others in the OECD. This fact is
echoed by Mothers Helpers IT specialist Leonard Ross, “after arriving in New Zealand from South Africa one of the first
things that amazed me of the kiwis was their generosity and how much they cared for one another. This was evidenced by
the popularity of volunteering and how many people dedicate their time to helping others. After many years I am in a
place where I can share some of my experience and skills with others, and volunteering is such a wonderful means to do
this and give back to a country and people I love,” says Leonard.
If you would like to read more about the volunteers of Mothers Helpers visit our blog
. Or to get involved and help Mothers Helpers give back to our communities, please review the volunteer positions available
and apply today.