Ninety per cent of small charities lack access to adequate mental health support, survey finds

Nine out of 10 small charities believe they do not have access to sufficient mental health support for their staff and volunteers, new research indicates. 

A survey of more than 700 members by the Small Charities Coalition looked at the health and wellbeing needs of those who work for and volunteer in small charities. 

The results showed a clear lack of support and resources for small charities on how to manage mental wellbeing, the SCC said. 

The umbrella body said the results were a “wake-up call” to the stress being faced by small charities and their staff. 

One-third of the people responding to the survey described their own mental health as either fair or poor, and nearly 70 per cent felt the pandemic had had a significant impact on their mental wellbeing.

More than one-third described their mental wellbeing as having a significant impact on personal relationships. 

Only 43 per cent said they felt sufficiently supported in the workplace, while slightly more than one-fifth felt confident enough to talk about an issue with their manager.

Almost four-fifths of all respondents said they would like to see more information and support for trustees in dealing with an issue.

Rita Chadha, chief executive of the SCC, said the results showed the pressures within the sector, the changes in working patterns, the continually changing nature of relationships, and the overall lack of certainty over funding, 

Chadha said it should act as a “wake-up call” as to how much stress small charities and their staff were under.

“The fact that so many small charities and SCC members want to talk about the emotional and mental wellbeing of the staff and volunteers in their organisation is indicative of the pressure charities in general, and small charities in particular, are under,” she said.

“To not act on these results would be to ignore the wellbeing of the sector's workforce. 

“At SCC we are determined to make sure that people understand that mental health and wellbeing are essential to the delivery of quality services and long-term sustainability.”

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