Safeguard mental health and wellbeing
Safeguard mental health and wellbeing
Photo: Angela Peca, UN Volunteer Nurse with MINUSMA, takes care of the people who serve the world at the UN clinic in Bamako. 
© UNV, 2019

Safeguard mental health and wellbeing

Building one team of your UN Volunteers and staff

Reduce the stigma and inspire sufficient trust that your UN Volunteers and staff feel comfortable seeking help or admitting how they’re truly feeling at work. Good health and wellbeing is number 3 of our Sustainable Development Goals.


Leaders and supervisors play a crucial role in promoting health and wellbeing of all UN personnel, including UN Volunteers. It is essential that you tell your volunteers who they can talk to for support and how to access resources if they are struggling. Given the nature of volunteering (moving to a new country, escalating civil conflict, natural disasters, humanitarian crises), it’s up to all of us to take our duty of care seriously. Our resilience, our ability to serve as an international organization depends on the wellbeing of all our people, volunteers included.


Let’s keep checking the UN Mental Health Matters hub . See the big 6 benefits of doing what you can to support UN Volunteers and staff. Plus, put mental health awareness and these wellbeing ideas at the top of your agenda.


Join the UN Secretary-General’s call to create a healthy workforce for a better world:

Do what it takes for a more inclusive and supportive culture.

Read the guide to creating a mentally healthy workplace. It will cultivate positive behaviours in individuals and teams, enhancing engagement and productivity.

Reduce burnout with flexible hours and arrangements.

For what a good work-life balance looks like and eye-opening statistics, take advice from employee experience leaders.

Familiarize yourself with host entity procedures on handling emergencies and critical incidents.

Refer to the Leadership in Emergencies Toolkit on UN HR portal for tips and tools or your organization’s resources.

Suggest psychological counselling services to your volunteers.

Share host entity contacts and information to cope with stress, prevent burnout and more.

Encourage volunteers to sign up for free one-to-one self-development coaching.

From building resilience to learning and providing personal advice, UNV Coaching Services are confidential and available on-demand.

Familiarize yourself with the leave entitlements of UN Volunteers.

Encourage your UN Volunteers to utilize their leave in accordance with their entitlements. Leave is often undervalued as a way to improve mental health, wellbeing and resilience.

Play team sports or games to get everyone moving and bonding.

Embrace team-bonding indoor or outdoor games such as table tennis, foosball, musical chairs or scavenger hunts.

Conduct health and wellness workshops.

Have a yoga or meditation session. Teach your team about good workplace ergonomics so they will be less likely to pick up injuries while working.

Encourage healthy eating.

Challenge the team to try sugar-free Mondays, salad Tuesdays, fruity Wednesdays or veggie Thursdays.

Suggest free mindfulness apps and websites to help volunteers be kinder to themselves and self-reflect.

Meditate with Headspace or InsightTimer before, during or after work. Develop healthier habits for your mind, body and soul with 60+ ideas to choose from on PWC’s Habit Bank.