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Adding to a growing body of evidence suggesting that volunteering may benefit mental health and longevity, Suzanne H. Richards, from the University of Exeter Medical School (United Kingdom), and colleagues analyzed data from 40 published papers and found that volunteers were at a 20 percent lower risk of death, as compared to non-volunteers.

Further, volunteers had lower levels of depression, increased life satisfaction and enhanced well-being. The study authors write: “Observational evidence suggested that volunteering may benefit mental health and survival.”


  1. Caroline E Jenkinson, Andy P Dickens, Kerry Jones, Jo Thompson- Coon, Rod S Taylor, Suzanne H Richards, et al. “Is volunteering a public health intervention? A systematic review and meta-analysis of the health and survival of volunteers.” BMC Public Health 2013, 13:773; 23 August 2013.