May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Coastal Community Foundation is ensuring the staff and volunteers from local nonprofit organizations receive essential mental health care. Through the Culture of Care pilot program, Coastal Community Foundation (CCF) partnered with the Waccamaw Community Foundation and Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation to give nonprofit workers in nine coastal counties up to 15 free virtual therapy sessions through BetterHelp.
CCF developed the idea for the Culture of Care program during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonprofits saw an increase in community need for services, while also facing challenges with funding, fear, and empathy fatigue.
“Nonprofit workers were on the front lines of issues facing our community even before the pandemic,” said CCF Southern Lowcountry Director Veronica Hemmingway. “They’re taking care of themselves, their families, and their communities in a time with a lot of uncertainty.”
Hemmingway added that nonprofit workers are typically mission-driven, focusing on how to give more to the people they serve before thinking of their own needs. However, many nonprofits encounter situations relating to grief, domestic violence, child abuse, and other trauma that can be a heavy burden to shoulder. By supporting access to mental health services for these front-line nonprofit workers, CCF is furthering its mission to improve the wellbeing of the community as a whole.
The Culture of Care program launched in February of 2023, and thus far has provided 65 hours of therapy sessions to 22 nonprofit staff and volunteers. An additional 20 people are registered but have not yet started their sessions. The program is currently full, but includes participants from Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Jasper, Hampton, Horry, and Georgetown counties. The program is funded by CCF’s COVID-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, as well as contributions from Waccamaw Community Foundation and the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation. Anyone who is interested in contributing to the continuation or expansion of the program can contact Coastal Community Foundation at (843) 723-3635.