The charity sector does a tremendous job looking after other people, but does it do such a great job of looking after its own staff, especially when it comes to their mental health?
Charity workers have some of the most stressful and emotionally challenging jobs imaginable. On any given day, they’ll be dealing with families in crisis, providing end-of-life care and dealing with shocking cases of abuse. Those who work in the back office don’t escape the effects. Fundraisers are under constant pressure to hit targets, comms teams must ensure every campaign is a success and managers often find themselves juggling dwindling resources and growing demand for services.
In the midst of all of this, the needs of the worker can be lost.
This week, Third Sector is running a series of articles about mental health in the charity sector. The series has been timed to coincide with World Mental Health Day, which takes place on Tuesday 10 October and this year has the theme of mental health in the workplace.
The series has been inspired by Third Sector columnist Mark Flannagan, the former chief executive of Beating Bowel Cancer, who earlier this year battled depression and anxiety, and has written a blog about his experiences. Now Flannagan feels he has recovered, he not only wants to share his story but also to start a conversation with the charity sector about mental health and how it can protect and support its workforce.
Over the course of this week, we’ll feature articles from expert charities such as Mind and Rethink Mental Health as well as the charity leaders body Acevo. We’ll also hear about a charity worker who feels their employer could and should have managed their mental health problems better.
Later in the week, Third Sector followers on Twitter will be able to raise questions about mental health in charity workplaces, so look out for the hashtag.
We’d also like to hear from organisations in the sector that believe they’re getting their approach to mental health right or want to get involved in the series, so please do email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any ideas.
I hope you find the series useful and, more importantly, I hope it starts a conversation in your workplace.
Andy Hillier is editor of Third Sector