'Volunteering at the School Games has brought me out of my shell'

On World Mental Health Day, we revisit 14-year-old Cameron’s story as he talks about volunteering at the 2018 School Games and how sport has helped him in his battle with mental health.

Cameron volunteered across the 13th annual School Games National Finals. From umpiring at wheelchair tennis to supporting athletes to get from A to B. The event was unlike anything he had experienced before.

“The people and being part of a team is something that stood out to me. Seeing the athletes compete, pushing their body to the limit, I have a huge amount of respect for them to be able to do that.”

Cameron said in the past, he has isolated himself following a battle with his mental health. As a sports fan, he has previously played wheelchair rugby, which he says has helped him through some challenging times.

It’s a coping mechanism and feeds the adrenaline. It makes me happy to play with other people and know that, yeah it might be competitive but in the end we’re all friends.

“I’m usually quite shy but the thing that stood out for me at the School Games is the fact that people have really come out of their ‘anti-social’ shell. People will come over to you and start a conversation and encourage you to speak. It’s good, it really is, there’s something for everyone here no matter what background you come from.”

Cameron says that he will be back again to do more volunteering at the School Games. He adds that alongside his passion for helping people, the environment, people and athletes have inspired him.  

For more information about how we are supporting young poeple in secondary school to manage stress, take a look at our Get Exam Fit resources.