The second episode in our learning and development for non-profits webinar series, “Mental Health Strategies for the Non-Profit Workplace,” was recorded live yesterday. We are ecstatic with the turnout and the response. Our guest speaker was Principal Consultant and Founder of Game Plan Total Rewards Consulting, Sean Raible.
Mental health is a concern for organizations of all sizes and non-profits are no exception. We made a list of some key takeaways from the discussion and you can read them below.
1. Mental health is already a concern for organizations
For non-profits of all sizes, mental health likely already affects your team in some way. One in five people will experience some mental health problem or illness each year. It’s likely that organizations of all sizes already have team members experiencing challenges.
What’s worse, statistically two out of three of those people do not try to access any assistance. Demonstrating to your people that their mental health is a priority can have positive effects by helping to remove stigmas and empower your people to seek help when it’s needed most.
2. COVID-19 has exacerbated an already challenging issue
The stats mentioned above are representative of the reality before the pandemic in the spring of this year. The additional challenges caused by social isolation, loss of work, and all of the other stressors of the pandemic have made a bad problem much worse. Now, over half of people report being more emotionally exhausted, sad, or irritable.
These additional stressors can contribute to insomnia, anxiety, anger and confusion. Establishing a policy and systems to help support your people is more crucial than ever.
3. The absence of a mental health policy at your non-profit can be more costly
Up to 30% of an organization’s disability costs can be caused by mental health problems. Even if a work stoppage is caused by another injury or illness, mental health can still become the primary reason for an inability to return to work.
The opportunity costs of the lack of a mental health policy can add up quickly, with absenteeism, losses of productivity, and more. Ignoring the issue can also have ramifications in terms of your organization’s reputation and in the worst cases could cause legal risks and expenses. Costs shouldn’t be the only concern, however. Non-profits who establish clear support systems for mental health can remain true to their organizational values and missions.
4. Mental health should be woven into every aspect of your organization
The old idiom about an ounce of prevention rings true when it comes to mental health. Establishing policies and helping your people to understand their options in terms of support can be very beneficial to all members of your team. Actions that show your organization places a focus on their well-being can help your culture and the comfort level of the people who need that support most.
Reacting to mental health concerns is crucial, but creating a safe place for your people to thrive can be a preventative measure that helps them feel supported.
5. Organizational learning helps organizations and individuals
Beyond establishing mental health policies at your organization and making your people aware of the resources and support systems available to them, you can help manage the overall mental health and well-being of your team by prioritizing organizational learning.
This means making long term learning a priority for your whole organization. When you are facing known challenges like adopting new technology, new protocols, introducing new team members, or embarking on new initiatives, acknowledge that some of your team will need some support adjusting. Taking a long term approach with documentation, peer-to-peer support, patience, and social learning initiatives will help everyone adapt to changes and help the entire organization continually improve.
Organizational learning is about changing behaviours and applying the learning over time, building capacity and improving performance.
6. Help individuals in your organization feel supported by offering ongoing training and knowledge sharing
Frequency is essential in learning. To help your people adapt to change, take a longer-term approach to change management.
One way to help your people avoid anxiety around their capabilities and help them feel supported is to offer ongoing training and knowledge-sharing that helps them improve their skills and gain confidence.
For example, to show your people that you are committed to supporting their mental health, you can provide that reassurance often through an employee’s tenure; during onboarding, throughout their time at your organization, when they take leadership positions, and even when they move on.
Watch the full webinar and access our suite of training tools for non-profits
In the full webinar recording, Sean offers a list of resources and tools available to non-profits. Our Founder Leah Chang also offers a number of case studies, along with actionable tips and insights that non-profits can use to support their people and be proactive against an issue that will continue to be an ongoing concern for organizations of all sizes.
We offer a growing number of online training modules designed specifically for the needs of non-profits. Only the CASL (Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) module has information specific to Canadians — the rest have info that will be of use to all English-speaking non-profits. Learn how to secure sponsorship and partnerships even in a remote work environment, and train your team on how to improve their measurement of the organization’s impact, to help make more informed decisions.
And as always, you can reach out to our team if you have questions about how we can support the needs of non-profits with eLearning consulting and online tools.
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Leah Chang is a learning consultant with 17+ years of experience designing online and classroom learning. In her spare time she goes on self-propelled travel adventures and tries to grow vegetables.