Jen and Mervyn – Wellbeing buddy story

Published on 8 July, 2024

Mervyn was referred to the Wellbeing Collaborative after having stem cell treatment for cancer. He was struggling with low energy and anxiety but was otherwise managing at home with his daily household tasks. Whilst Mervyn had lots of support and advice on his cancer and medical needs, without family close by he felt that he needed to talk to someone about things unrelated to his condition as a distraction from everything going on.  

Due to Mervyn having a depleted immune system and not being able to meet in person, a telephone Wellbeing Buddy was offered to him. A Wellbeing Buddy is a volunteer who calls each week for up to 12 weeks to offer a friendly chat and a listening ear.  

Our Wellbeing Buddy Jen 

Jen is one of our brilliant Wellbeing Buddies, who joined as a volunteer to keep her mind active following a brain injury. Jen loves to chat and wanted to feel as though she was helping someone through volunteering. When asked what being a Wellbeing Buddy is like, Jen said “DO IT! It is so fun and the people you ‘meet’ and stories you hear are amazing and some ways enlightening. Not only did I enjoy the conversations I feel that I looked forward to them each week and was quite sad if we had to miss any for personal reasons. The sense of helping someone is so positive and the feeling or warmth when they say ‘thank you for today’ is so warming”.  

The Wellbeing Buddy Calls 

Mervyn was feeling very isolated and confused when he was referred to the Wellbeing Collaborative, after having been dealing with such a shock following his cancer diagnosis, yet he was determined to tackle it with a positive outlook. Mervyn told us that the prospect of having a Wellbeing Buddy was a welcomed “break away from hospital appointments and great opportunity to talk and offload”. Jen and Mervyn got on from the first call they had, chatting about everything and anything, sharing stories, humour and they began to feel they were on the same wavelength when they spoke. Jen was warm, friendly and not too serious which helped Mervyn to open up about a lot in his life. She understood how he felt, without making him feel as though his thoughts were irrational.  

Mervyn described a Wellbeing Buddy as “someone calling that you can talk to about life without any feeling of judgement”. Telling us that lots of people in his life sometimes don’t have the time to dedicate to listen, Mervyn said that Wellbeing Buddies are there to give the time only to you, without interruptions and distractions. The Wellbeing Buddy calls lifted Mervyn up and “made everything feel better and lightened”.  

The impact that the Wellbeing Buddy calls had on Mervyn were wonderful, leaving a lasting effect on not only his mood, but his self-awareness too. Mervyn told us “I have had interesting reflections on myself from this experience, it’s changed me, and I’ve become much more self-aware about my own listening skills thanks to this experience with Jen”. Jen also felt that from the calls, she “had helped Mervyn’s confidence and positive outlook for the future” and that seeing him grow from the first to the last call was so wonderful.  

If you want to volunteer as a Wellbeing Buddy, find out more and apply.

To access the Wellbeing Buddy service, come to one of our Information Stations or speak to the professional you are working with to be referred directly.