Burnout is one of the most significant threats to the ability of human services professionals in effectively helping clients cope with crisis. It is a pernicious and rampant force within all helping professions, and the human services field—especially the specialties of crisis and intervention—is no exception. Crisis intervention work is intrinsically stressful. In the course of their crisis work, human services professionals inevitably encounter situations and circumstances that are shocking, horrific, heartbreaking, and/or tragic. Although human services professionals are trained to deal with these events, they nevertheless take a toll—sometimes an extreme one. Compounding the difficulties of the profession are organizational issues. Human services professionals often work within larger agencies and infrastructures. Issues such as bureaucracy, poor leadership, inadequate compensation, and lack of community or fairness can cause frustration, dissatisfaction, and apathy—all contributing factors to burnout. As a result, it is essential that human services professionals working in crisis and intervention are proactive in burnout prevention. Wellness strategies are methods, practices, or processes that human services professionals can implement to make it more likely that they will maintain their mental and physical health while working in challenging situations. By developing and implementing wellness strategies, human services professionals can help reduce the risk of burnout. The bottom line is this: in order to effectively take care of others, human services professionals also must take care of themselves.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Review Chapter 16 in your course text, Crisis Intervention Strategies, focusing on the contributing factors to burnout within the human services profession. Also pay particular attention to the various intervention strategies, often referred to as wellness strategies, which are outlined.
- Review the article, “The Contribution of the Psychosocial Work Environment to Sickness Absence in Human Service Workers: Results of a 3-Year Follow-Up Study,” focusing on how certain psychosocial work characteristics could be adjusted to minimize the incidence of burnout, given the results of the study.
- Review the article, “Burnout Among Employees in Human Service Work: Design and Baseline Findings of the PUMA Study,” paying particular attention to the contributors to burnout identified in the theoretical framework of the PUMA study.
- Review the article, “Emotional Exhaustion and Turnover Intention in Human Service Occupations: The Protective Role of Coworker Support,” noting the benefits of coworker support and how they reduce the risk of burnout within the human services workplace.
- Consider the factors that might contribute to burnout when doing crisis and intervention work. Then, reflect on the wellness (intervention) strategies a human services professional might implement to maintain his or her wellness and reduce the risk of burnout.
With these thoughts in mind:
By Day 4
Post by Day 4 a brief description of at least three specific factors that might lead to burnout when doing work in crisis and intervention. Then, describe at least three wellness (intervention) strategies human services professionals and/or the organizations for which they work might implement to prevent burnout. Explain why these strategies might be effective. Be specific.
Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources.