NPOs have always been important in providing support and care to South Africans. Although NPOs provide such crucial services, their resources are often stretched and their teams are overworked and face daily trauma.
To help NPO’s cope with the impact of the Covid-19, Tshikululu Social Investments, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) have launched a mental health support programme and a 24-hour toll-free helpline for non-profit organisations.
NPOs have always provided help, resources and support to others, but never before has the mental health of our NPOs been prioritized,” said SADAG Operations Director, Cassey Chambers.
“There are so many aspects regarding the health of NPOs which we hope to assist with, including reducing burnout and stress and providing key mental health skills to NPO leaders, to ensure they are able to look after the mental health of their staff and build mental wellness going forward,” said Chambers.
The programme will be provided by NPOwer, an organization which provides psychological first aid to leaders, staff and volunteers of NPOs, many of whom are experiencing strain and burnout caused by the Covid-19.
Kelly du Plessis, CEO and Lead Patient Advocate of Rare Diseases South Africa, an NPO established in 2013, said it is well known that NPO staff are often impacted by compassion fatigue, due to the emotionally giving dynamic of the sector, compounded by the often-personal nature of the services provided.
“During COVID-19, our mental health was further impacted due to the continuous financial stress of a downturned economy, coupled with many additional services needing to be provided to assist the most vulnerable members of society,” said du Plessis.
She highlighted that mental health is all too often overlooked or ignored until it is too late. “Mental health support needs to be implemented throughout the sector to build resilience, avoid burnout and ensure that the sector can continue to provide much-needed services,” added du Plessis.
Over and above, the programme also includes capacity workshops on NPO-related issues, a dedicated website to house multiple resources and a support network for NPOs.