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Winning over hearts and minds: mental health and wellness within the charitable sector

Employee mental health and wellness are important issues for the charitable sector. Many of the people working in the sector deal with work place stressors including long hours, limited resources, and dealing with sensitive or traumatic issues. These factors can affect the mental health of people working in our sector which, in turn, puts the effectiveness of their work and their ability to create positive change in the world at risk.

Tides Canada plays a supporting role and a home for changemakers by providing the tools, expertise, and strategy to get from vision to change. We want to see a healthy and thriving sector powered by health and thriving people. We believe that this is a key element in realizing a healthy environment with social equity and economic prosperity for all Canadians.

Increasingly, the public is becoming more aware of mental health issues (e.g. recent campaign Bell Talks resulting in over $7.2million raised for mental health awareness), and we believe that funders and partners of the charitable sector have a role to play in supporting the well-being of its people power.

Recently, we distributed a short survey with five-open ended questions to employees in the charitable sector as part of our work with the Dragonfly Fund. The survey sought to learn more about what mental health and wellness supports (e.g. extended benefits and sick days) were currently in place within the sector to inform how the Dragonfly Fund, Tides Canada and the sector, more broadly, can support mental health and well-being in the charitable sector. 

The survey findings reflect a demand for flexible hours and/or work location; extended health benefits; a positive office culture and working relationships; and a supportive manager.

We are buoyed by an increasing awareness of these issues and hope to see more opportunities to raise awareness moving forward. Charity Village hosted a Valentine’s Day webinar on Addressing Psychological Health and Safety in Nonprofit Workplaces open to the public.

If you are a funder and want to learn more about how you can include mental health and wellness support in your grantmaking program, get in touch with Wendy Cooper at wendy.cooper@tidescanada.org.

Resources

Community stories share local food successes in northern Manitoba

928 kilometres north of Winnipeg, Manitoba lies Barren Lands First Nation and Brochet. Facing high food costs, the community of just over 600 people expanded on an already existing interest in gardening by building a 14 x 20-foot greenhouse in 2013 in coordination with their local health centre and the Northern Manitoba Food, Culture, and Community Collaborative (NMFCCC). This is only one of many inspiring examples from the NMFCCC 2016 Community Stories booklet, which shares learnings from 18 communities.

Why freshwater matters: Our Living Waters and MEC

Our Living Waters (OLW) is a national water network that recognizes that achieving freshwater conservation requires the organization and alignment of diverse groups addressing freshwater issues. Outdoor retailer MEC is one organization deeply involved with OLW. We interviewed Meriko Kubota, MEC’s Director, Strategic Partnerships and Community Investment, to find out why freshwater is important in Canada and to MEC and its members.