Almost half of charity leaders have considered leaving the sector due to pandemic pressures, survey finds

Nearly half of charity leaders have considered quitting during Covid-19 as increased demand for services has exacerbated staff and volunteer pressures in a sector already struggling with burnout, according to new research.

In a survey of 450 charity leaders by the insurance firm Ecclesiastical, 44 per cent said they were considering leaving the voluntary sector as a consequence of the pandemic.

The results also found there have been major increases in concerns relating to anxiety, stress and depression among staff.

More than two in five charity leaders polled said they had seen an increase in mental health concerns among staff since January, while two-thirds said they were concerned about the effect that staff burnout could have on their charity.

This included not being able to provide services to users, which was selected by 36 per cent of respondents.

Slightly more than four in five respondents said it had already become more difficult to meet the needs of service users due to the pandemic, a situation that would be worsened by a loss of staff and volunteers to stress or burnout, researchers found.

The survey also showed that just slightly more than two in five charities had experienced an increase in colleague mental health concerns since the start of 2021.

Cases of anxiety (chosen by 71 per cent of respondents), stress (70 per cent), depression (66 per cent) all rose in that time, while a quarter said they had seen an increase in both self-harm and suicidal feelings.

The findings follow a survey conducted by Third Sector that was published in January.

The Third Sector study found that more than nine out of 10 charity workers said they had feelings of stress, overwhelm or burnout during that time.

It was released next to an in-depth feature on the subject of mental health and wellbeing in the sector in which charity workers shared their personal experiences.


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