Charities should collaborate to protect staff mental health, says expert

Mental health in the workplace collaboration meeting
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8 July, 2019


A consultant on mentally healthy workplaces has advised charities to work together and share expertise to safeguard staff mental health.

Jaan Madan, Head of the Client Experience Team at Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, was speaking at the Institute of Fundraising’s annual convention in London. He is encouraging charities to learn from the private sector’s example and share expertise on workplace wellbeing.

Jaan has consulted for large organisations such as Deloitte, EY and KPMG, who were willing to work together on mental health strategies despite their commercial rivalry, and “share best practice, what’s worked, and data, even around sickness absence.”

He spoke of the increased importance of mental health in the workplace being fuelled by organisations in all sectors promoting “the human aspect” of their work – “cultures where people can thrive” – and recognition of the business benefits that come from nurturing staff.

“They want to draw down the next generation of talent, to retain the talent… to create diverse and neurodiverse teams, and to create an organisation that’s commercially active.”

Jaan’s insight can easily apply to the VCSE sector, where employers and employees can face long hours, capacity issues and financial worries.

Mental health is a hot topic for the VCSE sector: digital consultant Kirsty Marrins recently highlighted the duty of care for staff who monitor social media, and spoke to Sylwia Korsak, Community Champion of Off the Record (a member of Voscur), for examples of good practice.

Meanwhile, last month’s report by ACEVO and the Centre for Mental Health found that only 3% of charity workers who experienced workplace bullying felt their complaint was ‘satisfactorily addressed’; 78% of victims had experienced verbal bullying, and 25% experienced cyberbullying.

By taking staff mental health seriously and tapping into expertise from other organisations, the sector can hire, nurture and retain the right people and use collaboration skills for much more than contract bids.