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Mental Health Services and Employee Turnover

July 27, 2013

Working in the mental health field is not easy. People who are educated and trained to do this work combine talent with compassion, but these traits only go so far. Without proper funding, stresses placed on mental health workers increase. This results in high turnover rates within Canada’s Mental Health System.


There are a number of reasons for high turnover in the mental health industry. 13 psychosocial risk factors are listed by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety.

Without a stable workforce, it is hard to provide quality service at a consistent rate. This is why it is important to care for mental health workers, grow awareness of what causes turnover, and support institutions that value employees.

Caring for Mental Health Workers

When it comes to caring for people with mental illness, it is equally important to care for healthcare workers. In this particular field, a lot of emphasis is placed on patient support at all costs.

Ensuring the workplace is conducive to long-term employment, mental health workers need to feel part of a team. This creates a network of support for employees. In turn, they do not feel left alone to handle all situations.

Productivity Decreases and Turnover Rates Increase

If employees are put in vulnerable situations, it can be challenging to offer high quality services. Often times, this leads to a decrease in quality of care, which jeopardizes the health of both employees and patients.

Job-dissatisfaction is inevitable if a support system is not in place. It is necessary for these workers to know backup is available in sensitive situations. If this is lacking, employees may feel unable to adapt to the workplace organization or unable to handle job tasks on a psychological level. Before coming to this realization, it is common for employees to lose motivation, respond emotionally, and become depressed.

Employers Prevent Job Dissatisfaction

Without proper funding, mental health workers seem to be spread very thin. Still, by incorporating team building communication strategies into daily operations, employees can feel valued and supported in their roles.

This means employers play a large role in preventing poor work environments. Two ways of doing this include:

– Recognize and reward employees for their efforts

Mental health work is a time consuming, emotionally taxing, and low paying job. Acknowledging individuals in a positive manner helps to create a welcoming environment.

– Make employees part of the discussion

Many mental health workers are displeased with their jobs because they see things that ought to be changed, but are not able to bring about solutions. Listening to employee insight may enhance a workplace and increase morale.

Those of you who are in mental health professions, work closely with these individuals, or employ them know this topic provokes a never ending discussion.

If you have stories or opinions about the state of the mental health care system and mental health workers, we want to hear from you.

What do you want to see changed in the system?

What do you dislike most about the system?

What brings you the most joy at work?

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