Spotlight On our ED Mental Health Volunteers  

Mental Health Volunteers are playing a crucial role in providing support, comfort, and companionship to patients in our Emergency Department.

The role was launched in November 2022 to support patients coming to ED and has expanded to include our Acute Medical Units.

“We designed a role profile that aimed to meet a set of identified needs to patients presenting with a mental health need in the department.

“After an initial successful pilot of the role in ED we have expanded to provide in-reach support across the Acute Medical Unit wards too. Here, the volunteers perform tasks such as checking in on patients to see if they have settled in from ED,” said Kieron Loane, Deputy Service Manager for Complex Health and Reducing Restrictive Intervention Lead.

Currently, six volunteers carry out this role with four more anticipated to join soon.

The diverse range of tasks undertaken by the volunteers, from providing orientation to therapeutic interventions, demonstrates their versatility and adaptability to meet the varied needs of patients. Volunteers also help source books to keep our patients entertained, iPads and other pastimes such as knitting.

Volunteers receive training in conflict resolution and mental health, as well as thorough induction. Reflective supervision sessions are conducted to support volunteer well-being and ensure high-quality care.
To date, the volunteers have supported 125 patients and their families.

Victoria Warren-Potter, ED Volunteer Coordinator, said: “Tasks the volunteers undertake range from orientating patients and their families/carers around the department, identifying where the facilities are, to providing therapeutic interventions such as games or offering a listening ear and someone to talk to.”

The role of the coordinator is to check for patients on a risk appropriate basis, provide hand over for each patient to the volunteers at the start of their shifts, due to the complexity around this role, the coordinator provides enhanced supervision during and at the end of their session.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working on developing this role along the way and will continue to adapt our services to meet the needs of our patients and staff. It continues to be a privilege to lead such a dedicated team to support our patients in what can be a very critical time in their lives.”

“The feedback from patients highlights the significant impact of the volunteers, with comments expressing gratitude for their kindness, companionship, and the positive help they provide during challenging times.”

“We are currently in the process of reviewing the contact data in more detail, to better understand the types of support being provided but also, to identify how we can continue to improve and develop our offer.” Kieron Loane – Deputy Service Manager for Complex Health & Reducing Restrictive Intervention Lead.

“In addition, we have carried out our first ever MH volunteer reflective supervision sessions which went well and will continue to support volunteers with this. We recognise and understand the important role supervision can play in the wellbeing of individuals, ensuring good practice, delivering high quality care and fostering positive working cultures in a team. In recognition of this the Complex Health Hub and Mental Health Liaison Service have come together and will be offering a reflective supervision pathway to our MH volunteers.”

• We have recorded a podcast interview with the ICB team around mental health volunteering. The topic is around what a shift involves from a volunteer’s perspective, how the mental health team feel our service provides invaluable support to our patients and how the volunteer coordinator supports the wellbeing of volunteers.

• If you would like to volunteer, visit