Maddie Davies' life has improved with just two hours a week of charity shop volunteering.
The 19-year-old's entire life was impacted seven years ago when she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome.
Extreme fatigue is a defining feature of the disorder, and there is no known treatment.
Maddie, from Cardiff, said, "I felt alone because I couldn't go to school and all my friends were still in school.
"My sense of self-worth and confidence were completely destroyed.
Thanks in part to my work at the charity shop and my therapy, I'm currently much better. ".
Her experience is consistent with those of a recent Public Health Wales survey, which found that nearly three-quarters of respondents actively choose to assist others in preserving and enhancing their own mental wellbeing.
Being a volunteer on your own is not a panacea. Maddie has been receiving counseling to help her concentrate on creating small, doable goals.
She said, "When you do them, you get a burst of confidence.". "I was completely exhausted the first time I volunteered for an hour in the charity shop; I had to take a nap afterward. ".
But she added that after accomplishing something, she felt fantastic.
Maddie's abilities are limited by chronic fatigue syndrome, and pushing herself too far can make her ill with joint and muscle pain or migraines.
"I used to enjoy going on hikes, but I can't do that any longer without forgoing a few days of recovery time.
To be completely honest, I don't consider my future plans because I don't know how my health will be. I don't want to make a big plan that never materializes because that would be too demanding of me. ".
She has a strong sense of self-worth thanks to her volunteer work.
"Knowing that what little I can accomplish still contributes to the wellbeing of those who are less fortunate than I am. Just amazing, that.
"I can't think of a single friend of mine who is my age who doesn't experience some form of anxiety or social anxiety.
It has really helped to know that I work with the same group of people every day and that they are all wonderful. You can trust the people there because it is a safe place.
"I know it won't be for everyone, but I do feel more optimistic about the future now than I did a few years ago, compared to where I was. ".
According to a new survey from Public Health Wales, nearly 75% of people in Wales decide to assist others in order to safeguard and enhance their own mental health.
The survey is still in its pilot stage, according to Dr. Catherine Sharp of Public Health Wales, but it aims to solicit opinions from the general public on a variety of issues that could influence future policies.
"We need to understand the public's perspective and how we can work with them to shift patterns in order for us to understand what we should be doing and in what direction we should be moving.
"Now that we are aware of the areas where the public spends their time, we can work to enhance those components. .
"For instance, 72 percent are getting outside. That's wonderful. We have access to that resource right outside our front door in Wales.
"Perhaps those who are already gaining something from it can share and spread that message in their neighborhood so that others can gain something from it as well.