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Almost half of charity leaders considering their futures due to pressure

Melanie May | 10 May 2021 | News

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Nearly half of senior charity leaders questioned in a survey by Ecclesiastical say they are considering quitting as a result of the increased demands caused by Covid, while burnout and mental health concerns are rising across the board with 44% seeing an increase among colleagues since the start of 2021.

The research follows on from the insurer’s Charity Risk Barometer, released earlier this year, which found that two thirds of charities had seen an increase in staff stress levels since the beginning of the pandemic.

The latest study from Ecclesiastical questioned 450 charity leaders and also found that two thirds (66%) of charity leaders were concerned about the effect that staff burnout could have on their charity – in particular not being able to provide services to users (36%) who have become dependent on the support they offer. Four out of five respondents (81%) said it had already become more difficult to meet the needs of service users due to the pandemic.


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At the same time as the risk of burnout, charities have also seen an increase in anxiety and depression among colleagues since January 2021.

According to Ecclesiastical’s research, two in five charities (44%) had experienced an increase in colleague mental health concerns since the start of 2021. Cases of anxiety (71%), stress (70%), depression (66%) all rose in that time – while a quarter said they had seen an increase in both self-harm (25%) and suicidal feelings (27%), 

Challenges at home such as child care or home schooling (33%), concerns about the health of family or friends (30%) and fatigue of home working (30%) were all cited as the main concerns for colleagues as the effects of the pandemic impacted on their mental wellbeing.

Many of those questioned – 52% – say the government needs to do more to provide mental health support.