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Journal Article

Citation

Sundram F, Corattur T, Dong C, Zhong K. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018; 15(10): e15102123.

Affiliation

Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, School of Population Health, The University of Auckland, 1023 Auckland, New Zealand. k.zhong@auckland.ac.nz.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2018, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)

DOI

10.3390/ijerph15102123

PMID

30261682

Abstract

Volunteers in non-government organisations are increasingly providing mental health support due to increasing demand and in the context of overstretched publicly-funded mental health services. This descriptive, cross-sectional study explored a knowledge gap in the literature of mental health telephone counselling by examining the motivation and retention determinants of helpline volunteers. In total, 25 participants were recruited across four focus groups and five individual interviews from a non-government organisation which provides a national phone counselling service to callers in New Zealand. Interviews were electronically recorded, transcribed and thematically analysed. Volunteers were found to have a high regard for their role and enjoyed many aspects including initial training, ongoing supports (formal/informal) and nature of the phone calls. However, organisational priorities/communication, disconnectedness, technological issues, lack of recognition and lack of a sense of belonging were reasons cited for intention to leave but previous mental health experiences, autonomy/flexibility, self-discovery/skills development and being there for someone else were key factors for volunteers to start and remain in their role. Understanding these crucial factors may help modulate volunteer satisfaction and retention in mental health organisations but may also potentially be relevant to other types of volunteer organisations.


Language: en

Keywords

helpline; motivations; telemental health; volunteer; volunteer retention

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