In November 2019, ACEVO and Mental Health First Aid England launched a project exploring how voluntary sector CEOs can support greater workforce wellbeing. The conversation developed from one focused on workforce wellbeing to one which explored the bigger picture of charity sector mental health, and the responsibility of boards to ensure leaders can support themselves in order to support others.
Working in the voluntary sector can be enormously demanding and requires deep resilience; for all sorts of reasons, the work can be emotional and distressing. And yet it is a huge privilege to serve causes and communities and witness the passion, dedication and skills within charity teams. To ensure all staff, volunteers and leaders get the support they deserve, charity CEOs should recognise how they can use their power to shift working cultures and support greater workforce wellbeing – as well as boards taking responsibility for ensuring leaders can access support networks for themselves. Now more than ever, leaders need to pay close attention to their own mental health if they are to thrive in the charity sector environment and model safe behaviours.
The group’s main findings can be split into these key themes:
- What makes it tough: the vulnerability of charity staff
- The impact on leaders
- When the ground shifts
- Governance and strategy