Perceived inability to help is associated with client-related burnout and negative work outcomes among community mental health workers

Courtney von Hippel*, Loren Brener, Grenville Rose, William von Hippel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Community mental health is a vital service, but it faces ongoing challenges from its high staff-turnover rates. The current study provides a preliminary test of a novel explanation for employee disengagement in community mental health. It is proposed that providing assistance to clients, while simultaneously feeling that only limited progress is being made, is associated with client-related burnout among community mental health providers, leading to negative work outcomes. Employees (N = 349) from three non-governmental community mental health organisations in Australia completed a survey assessing their perceptions of client improvement from treatment, client-related burnout and a range of organisational outcomes. Analyses revealed that perceptions that clients are not improving was associated with burnout, which in turn is related to lower job satisfaction, decreased job engagement, poorer workplace well-being, and increased turnover intentions. These findings suggest that interventions that highlight positive changes among clients could reinforce the important service provided by community mental health employees and may minimise burnout and negative work outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1507-1514
Number of pages8
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Volume27
Issue number6
Early online date1 Aug 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • client-related burnout
  • community mental health services
  • engagement
  • job satisfaction
  • turnover intentions
  • workplace well-being

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