Mental health training for Scottish charity workers after warnings over staff burnout

The Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH) is to roll out a programme of mental health training for third sector workers in Scotland to combat stress caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It comes after warnings from within the sector, with 44 per cent of charities seeing burnout as a significant threat to their operations and two thirds seeing an increase in staff stress levels during the pandemic, according to a ‘Charity Risk Barometer’ recently published by Ecclesiastical.

SAMH will deliver 40 mental health training sessions, and has extended invitations to up to 2,000 charity workers.

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Courses will aim to build confidence and knowledge around mental health, and equip staff to protect themselves and support colleagues.

Giles Ruck, Foundation ScotlandGiles Ruck, Foundation Scotland
Giles Ruck, Foundation Scotland

The project has been funded by £20,000 from Foundation Scotland, in partnership with the National Emergencies Trust.

Fiona Benton, Assistant Director of Delivery and Development at SAMH, said “As a charity, SAMH knows first-hand how hard third sector staff and volunteers have been working since the start of the pandemic: finding new ways to support people who need help, often while dealing with their own personal stress and worries.

"We’re grateful to Foundation Scotland for recognising the need to protect the mental health and wellbeing of people working in charities. We are looking forward to delivering our expert training to charities across the sector, thanks to Foundation Scotland’s support.”

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Fiona Benton of SAMHFiona Benton of SAMH
Fiona Benton of SAMH

This £20,000 award is the second strategic crisis grant provided to SAMH by Foundation Scotland. The charity previously received over £100,000 in October 2020 to design and deliver a partnership programme offering mental health support to key workers.

Helen Wray, Programmes Manager at Foundation Scotland said “We have been continually impressed by the hundreds of passionate and dedicated third-sector heroes delivering incredible support through this dreadful time.

"Yet we recognise it is often these very people who feel like they can’t talk, or even have time to think about their own issues as they are so focused on helping others.

"This is very concerning, supporting others just isn’t sustainable long-term unless you are looking after yourself and others within your organisation.

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"We need to ensure these individuals feel equipped, trained and able to cope with the increasing pressures they face.”

So far over 1,000 organisations have been contacted with an offer of up to two free training places, Ms Wray said.

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