Volunteering is an incredible way for parents to teach their kids about empathy. As they help others in need, kids open their hearts and minds to care for those around them. They can also learn important lessons about struggles that people may go through, which will help them be more understanding throughout the rest of their life. If you want to help your kids learn about mental health and understand those going through it better, there are several ways they can volunteer to help.
Feeding the Homeless
When you volunteer at a homeless shelter, you will see people from all walks of life that have fallen on hard times. Many, almost one in 5, may have untreated mental health issues that cause them to be unable to live as others do. Your kids can help these people by serving them, and learn about what they’re going through at the same time.
Bring a fun activity to a mental health facility
Connect with a local mental health clinic or daytime caregiving facility to see if you can help put on a fun activity for patients there. Your family could bring paint sets for making art, put on a funny skit, or help celebrate a holiday like Easter or Halloween. Your visit could bring a smile to someone’s face and be the highlight of their whole week.
Put up encouraging posters
Together with your kids, make posters with encouraging messages that you can place around town and at local mental health facilities. Include mental health hotlines that people can call if they need help. You never know when one encouraging word could save a life!
Fundraise for Mental Health Organizations
Your kids can use their talents and passion to raise money for your local mental health organizations. Nonprofits are especially hard hit by the pandemic, and money raised from lemonade stands, bake sales, raffles or birthday donations will be much appreciated, and put to good use in your community!
Bring a Mental Health Awareness Campaign or Event to Your School
Your kids can make a difference at their schools by requesting to hold a mental health awareness campaign or host an event. Have them write a letter to their administrators laying out the reasons why they would like to plan these efforts. Several organizations worldwide have great formats for bringing awareness campaigns to educational settings.