Moving Forward: STC Mental Health Awareness Week

From the 10th to the 16th of July 2023, STC International had its first-ever Mental Health Awareness Week.

Moving forward and learning from the success of this week, we are excited to share more events and happenings that will take place on the topic of mental health.

For now, from those of you who attended this week, we would love if you could answer our quick survey here.

If you were not able to join us, that’s okay! Here’s a version of the workbook we used during the week that you can complete yourself – or with your team – whenever you like: STC Mental Health Awareness Workbook


Below you can find a recap of the week:

Monday, 10th July

During the check-in calls on Monday, 10th July, we heard from Fianne and the attendees on the faces of depression, its stigmas and how – along with medical help – volunteering, nature, movement and talking can help. During the All City and Welcome call in the evening, we were able to spend time workshopping about objects that bring us joy and how to understand and manage our mental load. We also heard stories of how volunteering ties into wellness and mental health. 


Tuesday, 11th July

While Sharing Loneliness on Tuesday, the STC Maastricht team told us about their NOAH project – which works to match people looking for friends across the city. We heard inspiring stories of participants and talked about the importance of having a social network and the power of conversation in combatting loneliness. While discussing what loneliness can look like in different cities, we also identified the importance of having the people we serve serving with us in STC and the volunteer community – in defiance of loneliness – that it creates. 


Wednesday, 12th July

On Wednesday, we looked at Compassion Fatigue and Second-Hand Trauma by talking about the risk of moving from empathy to apathy and the importance of reinvigorating our compassion – both personally and organisationally – in order to achieve compassion satisfaction. We also discussed the ways in which our emotions all relate to love or fear and how thinking about it as such can help us get to the heart of the issue. In relation to volunteering, we looked at the importance of prioritising our volunteers just as much as we prioritise beneficiaries. 


Thursday, 13th July

On Thursday, Carlton shared with us about supporting loved ones in times of mental health concerns. There was a conversation about the support network that is needed to share the load of caring and ‘support the one who supports. Supporting is also about setting boundaries 


Friday, 14th July

On Friday, when exploring the importance of community, we looked at important questions such as what makes community and what makes you feel like you belong. We also discussed the importance of trust in building and maintaining a community. What do the communities that you are a part of look like? 


Saturday, 15th July and Sunday, 16th July

Over the weekend, we had a special workshop with STC Portugal volunteer Raquel Coelho. Raquel led us through brainstorming and informative sessions about recognizing signs of mental health concerns and shared stories regarding its connections with volunteering. We also had our check-in calls with Shannon on what mental health stigmas can look like – and how we can work to combat them – and with Hazel on tools to manage anxiety and dream without limitations.


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