Mental health at the non-profit workplace


We often imagine nonprofit leaders as people who have sacrificed or given up opportunities to gain wealth and have instead chosen to serve vulnerable communities in remote rural settings. But to serve as a nonprofit leader is to endure an unpredictable work environment, finding balance while filtering and nurturing hope despite cyclical deprivation and discrimination, all while constantly putting one’s own health and well-being at risk. .

Mental health(Freepik)
{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}
{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}

It was no surprise that 94% of nonprofit leaders who participated in Dasra’s upcoming flagship research on mental health admitted to struggling with work-life balance. 87% of leaders said they prioritize work over mental health, again and again, going above and beyond for the communities they serve and are responsible for.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India’s general elections, only on the HT app. Download now! Download now!

One of our most significant findings was that less than 9% of organizations have budgets dedicated to mental health and wellbeing initiatives for their staff. These budgets were prioritized and assigned by the leaders themselves.

Leaders on India’s frontlines for social development play diverse roles while balancing community expectations and donor-driven agendas to achieve measurable change. As investors and philanthropists supporting their programs, it is increasingly important to recognize that these leaders and staff become exhausted managing interventions, communications, capacity building and fundraising, all while maintaining a steadfast passion for causes that take time. in showing the desired results.

{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}
{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}

A nonprofit leader in West Bengal likened it to pouring from an empty glass: “I guess the only thing I would like to say is that no one, no matter how dedicated they are to a particular cause, can pour from an empty glass.” . “Everyone has to have some kind of safety net in order to function.”

  क्या आपके शरीर पे है काले धब्बे ? | Health Live

We’ve learned that in nonprofits, this tireless commitment and “overflow” extends beyond conventional work hours. Leaders and staff play critical roles in supporting communities 24/7, and particularly during crises such as pandemics, where they form a dedicated and trusted front line, closing gaps in information, health , education, food and security, often without salaries or health insurance to support themselves.

Top nonprofit workplace stressors include limited funding, staff shortages, and paperwork. Leaders and staff often work without pay and only a few speak openly about the risks to their personal safety. Unable to speak directly about personal mental health, an NGO leader from northeast India shared what mental health means to local communities: “Mental health is usually associated with sadness, which arises from everyday injustices “Mental health is a luxury and a well-being.” It is the last option they have [communities] think about.”

{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}
{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}

With limited funds available, not all leaders can afford professional mental health support, retreats and wellness activities for their staff and themselves. Instead, they lean toward low-cost investment initiatives that encourage adaptation as a group while developing a culture of solidarity and openness in their workplaces. Some nonprofits choose to celebrate challenges and failures while highlighting them as learning, others simply take a break with a cup of tea, a picnic, or watching movies together.

These free or low-cost solutions shared by nonprofits as mental health and wellness initiatives strengthen teams, but they don’t necessarily solve or recognize real mental health needs. Of those surveyed in the study, only 56% of nonprofit leaders felt prepared to respond to the real mental health needs of their staff.

  Children’s Day: Ways To Take Care Of Your Child’s Mental Health
{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}
{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}

Philanthropy is beginning to respond to the growing need for mental health support in communities, but has yet to respond to needs within the nonprofit sector. The Cocoon Initiative is an example of direct support for nonprofit organizations. The initiative invites leaders to take a sabbatical to rest and revitalize their core strengths. Since launching in November 2023, the initiative has provided financial support to approximately 30 leaders.

Through conversations with those seeking support, insights have emerged about systemic needs and the true risk of losing invaluable leaders due to physical and mental health depletion. The initiative provides trust-based support to leaders when deciding their budgets and sabbatical activities, which has been deeply empowering, as has the exploration of what rest and well-being could mean after years of service on the margins.

{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}
{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}

Another initiative, Intention Collective’s virtual Healing Circles platform, brings together nonprofit professionals to care for themselves and feel a sense of community while sharing.

The Mariwala Health Initiative (MHI) has developed powerful toolkits to understand and deliver mental health and well-being in nonprofit workplaces. Sonal Sachdev Patel and the GMSP Foundation’s passionate advocacy for a “human-centered” approach that is humane toward partner nonprofits that run programs is important in rethinking how we fund. Sonal urges the ecosystem to consider more meaningful approaches to change, where implementation partners do not risk burnout.

There are other noteworthy examples of donors giving stipends and wellness budgets to nonprofits to spend flexibly as they see fit. This is a step forward for the ecosystem in general; However, the gap in mental health services and the stigmas that come with it are complex and large: more than 80% of people struggling with mental health in India do not seek or receive care.

  COVID-19: 5 Healthy Ways to Cope With Mental and Physical Stress
{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}
{{^subscribeduser}} {{/subscribeduser}}

Getting nonprofits closer to the ground and to communities could be an important bridge to solving India’s mental health crisis, but first we must respond to their long-standing needs. Budgeting for organizations’ well-being and mental health support across programs will be a critical and intentional step toward recognizing their tireless efforts to create change while building long-term well-being resilience.

This article is written by Deval Sanghavi, Co-Founder and Partner at Dasra.



Source link

Leave a Comment