Bupa is teaming up with Deloitte, PwC and Salesforce to donate time, skills and resources to help small voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations to deliver mental health support to their workers.
A spokesman for the City Mental Health Alliance, which is the focal point of the initiative, said the country faces “a perfect storm” of mental health crises because of COVID-19.
The City Mental Health Alliance, along with mental health charities and social enterprises including the Samaritans, Mind and the Association of Mental Health Providers formed a “Mental Health Sustainability Fund” in May to encourage volunteering and fundraising from UK business to support VCSEs.
The target is to raise one million minutes of volunteering and £5m – and today the coalition announced that Bupa, Deloitte, PwC and Salesforce are now lending their weight to offer volunteering support.
Poppy Jaman, CEO of the City Mental Health Alliance, said the COVID-19 pandemic is “hurting the nation’s mental health”.
She said: “Without significant intervention this will get worse because, even as the physical impact of the virus slows, people will continue to deal with grief, uncertainty, anxiety and burnout.
“At the same time, small voluntary, community and social enterprise mental health organisations, which can provide effective support, face a significant drop in income because of COVID-19. These organisations sit at the heart of our communities – from geographical communities, to health workers, people from BAME background, young people, LGBT+ or victims of domestic abuse.
“They have the agility to reach and help the people who need it most. But as there is a surge in demand for their services, they are at risk of closing their doors. It’s a potentially devastating perfect storm.”
Alex Cole, Chief Customer & Corporate Affairs Officer, Bupa Group and Chair, Bupa UK Foundation, said that supporting people’s mental health is “very close to our heart”.
Cole said: “We want to play our part in helping charities that are doing vital work to support people who might be very vulnerable at this time. We’re really pleased than we can volunteer our expertise for this very important initiative.”
Goldman Sachs was the founding supporter of the initiative, providing cornerstone funding of over £400,000 to help establish the fund.
The support being offered to VCSE firms includes technical, legal, financial, and governance assistance.