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Sunday, May 16, 2004


Volunteerism :: Bad for Volunteers' Health

::We all know that voluntary work is good for the community and society at large and there is much thanks to be given to those volunteers in which ever field they may choose to provide voluntary help. And many would agree that doing voluntary work does bring good to the volunteers themselves but with the good is there any bad, especially to the health of the volunteer?
Researchers from Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, asked this question of over 500 people about their involvement in voluntary groups.
And what did they found is that most of those who did voluntary work linked it with a negative effect on their health.
The study is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health [JECH] and is reported in by the BBC online.
Excerpts from the BBC report ::
Writing in the journal, the researchers led by Dr Anna Ziersch, said: "This research indicates that involvement may not be beneficial for individual health, and that for the individuals involved there is some evidence that this involvement may in fact be detrimental for their own health.

"The relation is complex, and while we were able to consider some of the elements of the relation between civil society group involvement and health, there may be hidden differences between types civil society groups."

Celia Richardson, of the Mental Health Foundation said:
"The benefits of work and the social inclusion it can bring are well known.

"Volunteering offers many similar benefits."

But she added: "Volunteering, like work, has to be structured and managed to ensure that stress is minimised.

"If people are feeling over-stretched or are witnessing depressing and difficult situations they aren't trained to deal with - and if they aren't offered appropriate protection or counselling - then it is not difficult to imagine they could feel there are negative health consequences attached to volunteering.

"Volunteering is best in an environment which is planned properly to maximise the benefits to the individual as well as the organisation."

So what do you all think of volunteerism especially those presently already involved in voluntary work? Remember don't overstretch yourselves, do only what you have knowledge of or training for and do remember to take note of your own health.





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