Membership Pro Tip: Help Members Manage Stress

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The Massachusetts Society of CPAs goes the distance for members facing mental health issues and stress. Here is one way the group is helping members cope.

Tax season is never over, as any CPA will tell you, and this year, with the tax return deadline extended to May 17, the stress level among CPAs never eased off. Add that schedule adjustment to more than a year of pandemic-related challenges, and it’s not surprising that many in the profession are feeling overwhelmed. In response, the Massachusetts Society of CPAs increased its efforts to help members cope. Here is one way, among many, they did it.

How Does It Work?

MSCPA provides articles to members on how to help combat burnout, manage expectations, prioritize whole-body wellness, and reduce stress. The aim is to offer members unique value—not the same tax articles they could find anywhere else, said Amy Pitter, MSCPA’s president and CEO.

Most recently, the group devoted a section of the May issue of its magazine to mental health in the accounting profession. The issue featured a personal story from a millennial member outlining her journey with mental health, and another on what accounting firms are doing to help staff deal with mental health issues.

Why Is It Effective?

The articles are geared toward helping people navigate their business and work lives, focusing on themes like diversity, mental health, and wellness. “People’s authentic selves include any mental health issues they might chronically have, or have at the moment,” Pitter said. “And, as with any diversity issue, you can’t be inclusive if you’re not willing to talk about it.”

MSCPA supplements the articles with corresponding webinars. This combination encourages members to look to the association for thought leadership and guidance on particular issues, she said.

What Is the Benefit?

Dealing openly with stress relieves stress, and association leaders must encourage their staff and members to pay attention to their mental health. It’s hard to let go of thinking that working crazy hours is a badge of honor, but the real badge of honor is to face your stress and its repercussions head on.

“It’s something we can uniquely offer our members,” Pitter said. “Everybody’s hungry for connection right now.”

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