Tessa Francis – Being You Leeds
“Interesting. Vulnerable. Community” These are the words Tessa uses to describe her volunteering role…
Tessa finds her volunteering role very interesting. As an Anti-stigma Champion, she reaches out to communities to talk about mental health. Tessa spoke about how anyone can experience mental health problems, how it can begin with stress and build into something bigger, leading to diagnosed conditions. Tessa loves that volunteering enables her to meet new people with lived experience, she said “You don’t realise what people go through in their everyday life, sometimes they just need someone to talk to, somewhere they can go for help. It gives me such a buzz to help people.”
Within Tessa’s role, she is often surprised at how vulnerable lots of people are. Tessa said “Nobody’s in an island, nobody stands alone, everyone needs someone to talk to “
Tessa was inspired to volunteer by a family member who was an activist around the black power movement in the 1960’s. Her mother was a teacher and people often tell her that she’s following in her footsteps. A friend encouraged Tessa to volunteer and because of her illness she wanted to get out of the house. Tessa says, “and I’ve never looked back”.
To those who are thinking about volunteering Tessa says “Go for it! Whatever volunteering role you’ll always be inspired. Even if you only put one day a week in it, sometimes you can apply for funding or training through the organisation. You’ll see people. It’ll help you as well and helping the organisation you’re working with.”