Wellbeing of staff and volunteers

18 May 2020 Sandra Bailie    Last updated: 21 May 2020

The wellbeing of staff and volunteers is something that needs our attention more than ever, during this time of uncertainty and challenge. We want to promote and support the wellbeing of our staff and volunteers and here are some links to help you.

During this period of COVID 19 you have highlighted the concerns and challenges regarding the wellbeing of your staff and volunteers. This article will point you to some of the useful support and guidance that is available through organisations in our sector.

18 - 24 May is Mental health awareness week and the theme for the week is kindness. Research has shown that kindness can help reduce isolation and creates a sense of belonging. It also can help to reduce stress and bring a fresh perspective.

Mental health related absence is the most common cause of long-term sickness absence in UK workplaces. Stress related absence in particular has increased, with 37% of respondants to the CIPD and Simply Health Health and Well-being survey saying that stress-related absence had increased in the last year. Work-related stress, depression or anxiety accounts for 44% of work-related ill health and 54% of working days lost, in 2018/19 (HSE, 2019). As well as sickness absence, poor mental health at work can lead to increased staff turnover, reduced engagement and high presenteeism.

These facts relate to a world pre-COVID-19; early indications suggest that the pandemic (and measures taken by government to control it such as lockdown and social distancing) will have a significant impact upon the mental health of employees. It is very possible that these mental health implications will be felt for many months and even years. As early as two weeks into lockdown, employees were reporting a range of health effects including negative impacts on mental health and overall well-being.

CIPD have produced some guidance on Mental health and returning to the workplace - This guide outlines considerations and provides advice for employers, people professionals and people managers on how employee mental health can be supported as lockdown ends and there is a phased return to the workplace.

We are currently developing a new series on wellbeing of staff and volunteers starting with Supporting Mental Health in the workplace webinar delivered by The Labour Relations Agency on 27 May. If you have particular topics you would like us to cover or have expertise that you would be willing to share with our sector please let us know.

A number of organisations in our sector provide really helpful advice and support in mental health and wellbeing and we have highlighted some of these below. If you provide support or advice in this area and are not listed below, please let me know and I can add you to our list.

Inspire - Your mind matters outlines various steps that you can take to help your wellbeing. This information is to help you cope with: Feelings of anxiety around coronavirus; Staying at home or avoiding public places; Self-isolation.

Action Mental Health - AMH works have produced Guidance on a range of issues such as relieving pressure, working from home and wellbeing.

Coping tips to boost your mental health during COVID 19 - such as deep breathing exercises, getting out into nature, grounding props, using essential oils and listening to music.

Aware - Looking after your mental health during challenging times - This is really practical guide covering issues such as challenging and changing your thinking, tips for dealing with stress, mental illness signs and symptoms to look out for, dealing with depression and anxiety.

Mindwise have advice about  managing your mental health with specific advice for carers and relatives, those with a mental health condition and young people. As well as information about how to get support online and on the phone.

Minding your head - information on where to find help and how to look after your mental health while you stay at home.  There is also information on how to help support others during this time.

World Health Organisation - have a useful guide on how to deal with stress and have produced a top tips infographic with simple advice such as eating healthily, exercising, keeping in touch with family and friends and monitoring use of social media.

Happiful has a good article to inspire you  - Seven Things to look forward to to create a sense of normality


sandra.bailie@nicva.org's picture
by Sandra Bailie

Head of Organisational Development

[email protected]

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