Mental Health Week | Let’s take care of the community sector

As a business leader who has worked with hundreds of NPOs, foundations and associations, I will dare to address you today on behalf of an entire sector to testify to the difficulties these organizations are experiencing.

Difficulties of all kinds, among which top the list, as you might imagine, are concerns relating to finances and labor: difficult to obtain financing, deficit budget, scarcity of labor and staff burnout. Difficulties reported by Dan Clément, CEO of Centraide Canada, in the spring of 2022.

What about two years later? It’s still difficult to run an NPO due to lack of resources and attention. It is increasingly incumbent upon leaders of community sector organizations to find solutions and deal with unhealthy exponential stress.

Obviously, working (too) hard to manage problems is the lot of leaders in any organization, in the community sector and elsewhere.

About 45% of business owners in Canada say they experience mental health issues, up from rates of 38% and 32% in 2022 and 2021.

However, the economic situation is hitting the community sector harder, causing a chain of harmful effects: the needs of beneficiaries are increasing faster than funding, salaries are struggling to be competitive, it is therefore becoming difficult to recruit and retain staff. , the remaining resources and the management team are palliating and exhausting themselves… Is it normal that, according to the Multisectoral Remuneration Survey of NPO Managers in Quebec by 2023, 83% of NPO directors will work overtime?

And the worst part: we slap them on the wrist under the pretext that they should, individually, pay more attention to their mental health!

Speaking engagements

On the occasion of Mental Health Week, which continues until May 12, several public figures will humbly use their platform to speak about their personal challenges or lived experiences relating to mental health. I myself have a lot to tell you about my own fight, which I decided to deliver in a testimony available on the website of the Association québécoise de prevention du suicide1.

All these speeches, essential to help raise public awareness of a major issue, are individual, but not anecdotal.

Their proliferation reveals a reality: mental health disorders are widespread and deserve the attention not of everyone in their corner, but of our systems and society as a whole.

The future of the community sector is at stake in particular. Its leaders support NPOs and charities at arm’s length, but we cannot keep our arms in the air forever. When will we see and support these raised hands asking for help?

Part of the answer lies, I believe, in the value that we can and must – all of us, collectively, whether governments, individuals or organizations in a position to help – place on philanthropy: we must talk about it, teach it and apply it, on a small and large scale, to inscribe it in the DNA of our Quebec society.

1. Watch Pascal Lépine’s testimony

What do you think ? Participate in the dialogue


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