Elijah Hall, supporting young people at The Mix
My name is Elijah, I’m 21 and I’m a student in Durham. I am studying psychology and have always been interested in mental health and wellbeing, especially young people’s. Both myself and many friends have experienced issues in our lives that have affected us and our mental health. I saw an advert for volunteering opportunities with The Mix on Facebook. I thought it would be a great chance to learn more and also support others going through tough times, in the same ways that I and people I know have done.
I now volunteer as a Support Chat Moderator, which means that once a week I moderate an online chat where people come to for support. Moderating involves making sure that what people say doesn’t contradict our guidelines, as well as giving support and encouraging peer support.
I think one of the main skills the role has given me is multi-tasking. At first it was very difficult to follow the variety of conversations in chat while thinking of responses and communicating with other mods – when the chats are busy everything can be very fast-paced! However, it’s something that gets much easier with time!
Since volunteering with The Mix I’ve also gained more confidence in conflict resolution. I’ve always been quite intimidated by conflict, and so to be trained and practise dealing with real situations within chats has been very helpful for my personal life.
Another skill I have gained is the ability to respond empathetically in difficult situations. Some people talk about things that can be very tough to hear, and so, sometimes, it can leave you speechless, especially when it’s something you haven’t and possibly will never go through yourself. Having these kinds of experiences has helped open my eyes to the range of experiences people can have, and responding to people talking about such things has taught me the importance of empathy and simply being there for people.
My favourite memory of volunteering for The Mix is probably the first time that one of the people in the chat thanked me for helping them. It was wonderful to have feedback from someone telling me that being in chat with them had actually helped them feel better. It was lovely to think that I had made a difference to a young person’s life!
Published on 30-Apr-2018
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