May 26, 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. The National Alliance on Mental Health spearheads this month and is amplifying the message “Together for Mental Health.”

Prioritizing mental health is vital for everyone—and for anti-hunger advocates—during challenging times. As anti-hunger advocates, it’s important that we not only prioritize our mental health but support our colleagues as we continue working to fight against hunger in America.

One way to protect mental health is to practice self-care. During this year’s National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, mental health was addressed during the session “Take Care and Take Care of Each Other: Addressing Stress and Burnout Among Nutrition Program and Emergency Food Providers,” where presenters provided tips on how to address stress in the workplace and prioritize mental health.

The following are tips for employees and leaders of anti-hunger organizations, shared by conference session presenters Mya Price-M.A, Feeding America; Laura Murr and Eric Werner, Subsidy Special Programs manager and Nutrition and Wellness manager at KinderCare Education; and Susana Reza, executive director of El Paso Human Services, Inc.

Tips for Employees

  1. Check in with yourself about your energy management. The capacity to work stems from four key drivers of energy: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. Exercising, eating healthy food, resting, and positive emotions are critical to high performance. To prioritize your work and your self-care, try to focus on one thing at a time.
  2. Practice self-care. Find what restores you and practice it daily. Take time for breaks for enjoyable activities such as reading, painting, or walking.

Tips for Leadership

  1. Check in on how staff are doing. Leaders should be sure to check in with their staff to see how they are doing.
  2. Make sure employees have specific resources to do their job. Check in with staff to see what resources they need to successfully do the work.
  3. Show appreciation. Be sure to let your team know they are appreciated. Find creative ways to show staff appreciation such as team events or expressing gratitude on social media.
  4. Celebrate the wins big or small. Celebrate the wins with your team, especially after a busy season or successful campaign.

If you attended the Anti-Hunger Policy Conference,  sign into your Pathable account and view the session here.