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Survey seeks to learn more about mental health in NPOs

NPOwer, a mental health support service and 24 hour helpline for non-profit organisations (NPOs) or non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in South Africa, has launched an NGO Anxiety Survey that will assess anxiety amongst staff and volunteers of NPOs, NGOs and community organisations across all sectors in South Africa.

According to NPOwer, “by better understanding the areas which are leading to mental distress, we can better mould the support and care structures to best suit the needs of this selfless and giving group of people”.

Two-thirds of NPO staffers face “elevated risk of developing a psychiatric disorder”

NPOwer says the Covid-19 pandemic and recent civil unrest have impacted all aspects of NPO work – from running programmes effectively to planning and getting funding. It adds that “these issues can lead to NPO staff and volunteers to feel burnt out, stressed, overwhelmed and anxious, which can all ultimately affect mental health”.

Previous NPOwer research found that two-thirds of NPO professionals exhibited moderate to severe psychological morbidity, with two-thirds also facing an elevated risk of developing a psychiatric disorder. Over one-third of all NPO professionals were found to be exhibiting a high likelihood of having a severe psychiatric disorder by the time the survey was completed.

“While many corporates have Employee Assistance Programmes in place for their employees and relief funding has been provided for specific responses such as food relief and health system strengthening, the wellbeing of NPOs, who are at the frontline in serving communities throughout lockdown, has largely been forgotten.

The need for this type of integrated psychological support programme is very clear,” says Dipalesa Mpye, a social investment specialist at Tshikululu Social Investments.

The support programme is encouraging anyone working or volunteering in an NGO, NPO, NPC or any other community organisation to complete the five-minute Anxiety Survey, which will run until 15 October

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