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DISCONNECTED: Looking after our mental health in community engagement

Global Community Engagement Day 2024 is Sunday 28th January.

Global Community Engagement Day aims to create awareness of individuals working collaboratively to address ideas and issues within the community, making the world a much better place for everyone. The theme for this year is Disconnected – Looking After Our Mental Health in Community Engagement.

The Consultation Institute works with a wide range of organisations who are engaging with communities as part of their work. While we work with them, we get to know the teams well and see the common challenges across the different organisations. Whilst the focus will always be the communities we all work with, staff in the engagement teams must be mindful of their mental health too. We often see engagement programmes that are not given sufficient time and resources, but are expected to be best practice. Senior leadership buy-in to the importance of engaging with the public can vary hugely, and plans can be postponed or accelerated with little notice given to the engagement team.

Also, the demands of engagement events can be considerable. At a recent event I had a fascinating conversation with someone whose business was providing security at consultation public events. He had seen many events become overwhelmed by the passion of members of the public attending, particularly campaign groups. I have witnessed staff being verbally abused and heckled at such events many times and unfortunately anxiety and nervousness in staff can come out as defensiveness, when the best response is to be seen to be listening and taking people seriously. At tCI we help organisations think about the audiences they want to capture and methods to ensure everyone has a chance to share their views, in a respectful, courteous environment.

All this can mean high levels of pressure and stress for staff, so on this Global Community Engagement Day, we recognise the hard-working conscientious staff working in engagement teams across the UK. tCI sees you.

To learn more about how tCI can support your engagement projects, please get in touch.

Featured image via Unsplash.

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