Having positive mental health practices can help you cope with stress in daily life. Mentors should understand people’s emotions and feelings to help them manage stress. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah provide mentorship programs for kids to help them avoid mental illness. Due to the increased number of kids requiring mentorships, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah has many volunteer opportunities where a mentor can sign.

Volunteering mentors should understand mental health by knowing the following:

Early Signs of Mental Illness

There is no scientific scan or physical test that can indicate whether someone has a mental illness. However, as a mentor, you should note the following signs in a person;

  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Withdrawal from family or friends
  • Extreme confusion on things that matter
  • Negative attitude and emotions
  • Lack of interest in things previously enjoyed
  • Excessive use of mood-altering substances, such as alcohol
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Experiencing delusions

Common Mental Health Disorders

  • Anxiety disorders. People with anxiety disorder experience severe fear related to specific situations or objects. Common anxiety disorders include panic disorder, phobia disorder, Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Anxiety disorders are common in youth and are characterized by restlessness, fatigue, interrupted sleep, and tense muscles. Volunteering mentors should note these signs when a youth keeps talking about them.
  • Mood disorders. People with a mood disorder have significant changes in moods depending on certain situations or seasons. Individuals will suddenly lose interest in events and activities that they used to enjoy leading to a feeling of extreme sadness. Some examples of mood disorders include major depression, bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder.
  • Schizophrenia disorders. Schizophrenia is a complex disorder that develops when someone is between 16 to 30 years of age. The condition is characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and a lack of motivation. As a mentor looking for Volunteer Opportunities in Utah, you should at least have basic knowledge of understanding these signs.

Are There Volunteer Opportunities in Utah for Mental Health Awareness

At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah, there are volunteering opportunities for anyone who would like to offer mentorship to youth. Visit bbbsu.org/be-a-mentor to learn how you can be a part of youth mentoring efforts.