JOURNAL ARTICLE

The Design and Development of Staff Wellbeing Initiatives: Staff Stressors, Burnout and Emotional Exhaustion at Children and Young People's Mental Health in Australia

Dominiek D Coates, Deborah Howe
Administration and Policy in Mental Health 2015, 42 (6): 655-63
25307317
Mental health work presents problems for staff over and above those encountered in other organisations, including other areas of healthcare. Healthcare workers, in particular mental health workers, have poorer job satisfaction and higher job burnout and turnover compared with established norms for other occupational groups. To make sense of why healthcare workers experience high levels of burnout, a strong body of literature points to the emotionally demanding nature of people-work. The negative effects of mental health work on employee health can be mitigated by the provision of appropriate job resources and wellbeing initiatives. As to develop initiatives that appropriately target staff sources of stress and needs, it is important to engage staff in this process. As such, Children and Young People's Mental Health (CYPMH) and headspace Gosford, in Australia, New South Wales (NSW), developed a survey to identify how staff experience and manage the emotional demands of mental health work, what they identify as key stressors and which initiatives they would like to see implemented. Fifty-five staff (response rate of 73 %) completed the survey, and the results suggest that while staff find the work emotionally demanding, they do not appear to be emotionally exhausted and report administrative rather than client issues as their primary concerns. While a strong body of literature identifies the management of emotions in the workplace as a significant cause of stress, organisational stressors such as working in a bureaucratic environment are also important to understanding staff wellbeing.

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