Justone Mental Health Support Service - Volunteers' Sharing of Experience (by Louis)

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The name of "Justone" has special meaning for me. I reminds me to pay attention to the "tone" of service users and that of myself on the phone. "Just the tone" can reveal much emotion. Sometimes, when I pick up the phone, I cannot hear the content. The user speaks in a husky, low, trembling voice with fragments of words. ‘I hear your pain… so painful…so helpless…’, replying in a low voice. Negative emotions are true, but given service user’s fear of being negated, rejected,  they cannot be freely expressed in daily life. After addressing the negative emotions, the user and I can communicate at ease.

As a volunteer, I just do a little something for the underprivileged and the emotionally distressed. I can do nothing without support from caring social workers, staff members, and other volunteers. The Chinese proverb "Happiness stems from helping others’may not be an accurate description of the work of JUSTONE. How can one feel happy when listening to others' unhappy experiences?But the sense of meaningfulness I obtained from volunteer work and the comfort I experienced with the users has already outweighted my negative feelings.

Despite being disturbed by negative emotions, many service users are nice people. A user thanks God because her siblings visited her at hospital. She sympathizes with those who stay at hospital without family support. Another user could not make decisions on small chores despite being a grown-up. It is definitely not her fault. Given emotional distress, she could not receive proper education and working experiences, leading to limited personal growth and development, Thus, she maintains the simplicity and goodness of a small girl.

Sometimes, even under medication, emotional distress is just like a dark shadow following a person for the whole life. While we cannot help people get rid of distress, can we help them adapt to and co-exist with negative emotions? Perhaps, JUSTONE is a dim but valuable beam that lightens up service users' rugged life road in darkness...

 

Louis