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We all want someone to talk to. Somebody who really listens. For many, that person is Aulfat Bi, an Associate Director in our tax practice. Through our 5 Million Futures initiative, she’s helping young people who struggle with their mental health to reach out and be heard.
COVID-19 has reminded us that we need to look after each other, but we need to take care of ourselves too. Throughout May, Deloitte partners and staff will be taking part in Futures Month, a range of virtual volunteering sessions including recording audiobooks for visually impaired people, providing advice and support to people who are looking for work or at risk of redundancy and small businesses and charities affected by the pandemic.
To mark the launch of Futures Month, we’re sharing stories of individuals, like Aulfat, who are already living our purpose and making an impact that matters.
Doing something good
I’m the relationship manager for our Birmingham office charity partner, children’s mental health organisation Place2Be. I also support the SHOUT crisis text line so, at the weekend, late at night, I answer texts from people in need.
The issues I come across through SHOUT range from problems at home and anxieties over school or isolation, especially during lockdown to more extreme concerns.
Working with a crisis line can be hard – 60 percent of the people I hear from have, in some way, thought about suicide or self-harm – and conversations are often tough, especially in the early days of volunteering. But you know you’re doing something good.
These are people who I will never see, but when they text back they’re so grateful for the time you’ve given them. And they will go to sleep and hopefully have a better day tomorrow.
Extra sense of purpose
The Place2Be schools that Deloitte supports comprise more than 11,000 primary and secondary pupils, which includes providing access to a counsellor.
One in eight children experiences mental health problems. But early interventions can change their choices, their grades, their relationships and their future.
Having such a big impact gives you that extra sense of purpose. It boosts your self-esteem and makes you feel good about yourself.
I’m always looking at ways to give back or help others, so I think volunteering is something I’ll keep doing. I’m grateful that I can do it at Deloitte through my 3.5 hours a month, which everyone within the firm is entitled to. It’s what gets me out of bed in the morning.
You can always find time
I’ve been volunteering for a few years now and have been involved in a range of projects. My advice to anyone considering getting involved? Go for it, even if you think you’re too busy. It’s always possible to find the time if you’re passionate about the cause.
I believe we’re in a privileged position working at Deloitte and I think we should use the standing we have in society and, where there is an opportunity, help people. We should all just chip in.
Find out about Futures Month, follow us on twitter @DeloitteUK_5M.
Charlotte has been working at Deloitte since 2011 across various marketing roles. She has been part of the firm’s Responsible Business team since 2016, managing marketing and communications for One Million Futures and the recently launched 5 Million Futures programme in the UK.