New reports and statistics suggest volunteering can help with mental health struggles in both a personal and professional setting.
This statistic comes at the same time as the report states 30 per cent of people working in health care and social assistance say their mental health is impacting their productivity at work. That number jumps to 32 per cent for people working in food services.
Paula Allen, global leader, business and client insights at TELUS Health, said the statistics shouldn’t be surprising because volunteering gives a sense of connection, therefore improving mental well-being.
“We know that when we have a sense of not interacting with other people in a meaningful way, we have that feeling of isolation,” she said.
The index shows three in five workers volunteered or donated in the last two years, and they had the highest mental health and optimism scores.
However, despite the statistic, volunteering is down across Manitoba.
Ashley Seymour, executive director of Volunteer Manitoba, said the number of people who donate their time still hasn’t recovered from the pandemic.
“The need has certainly increased for services, but a lot of organizations don’t have capacity to make that demand due to the need for volunteers,” she said.
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“So ultimately, that results in reduced services for folks that need those services which is very unfortunate.”
Seymour said recruitment efforts in schools and post-secondary institutions are underway.
The TELUS report also showed just over 30 per cent of employers offer time off for volunteering, an initiative that would fare well for both parties.
“I do think employers should pay attention to the fact that this is a strong factor, and having your employees view you positively, and for many reasons how they even show up on social media, in addition to attraction, retention, and satisfaction, all correlate with a positive perception,” Allen said.
“Sometimes they get groups of employees together which is fabulous because you get that sense of socializing while doing good for the community as well.”
— with files from Marney Blunt
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