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Resilience Will Not Prevent Burnt Out Social Workers From Quitting

Posted by Brian Spence on Mar 2, 2020 8:00:00 AM

Social Worker, Behavioral HealthFor families with children to receive the best care provided by social services, there needs to be a stable and healthy social workforce run by experienced and properly trained workers. A study showed that a low-stress workplace environment is positively correlated with lower turnover rates among staff. In response, this improves the quality of social services.

And yet, more traumatized social workers are leaving the profession, citing burnout as their main reason for resigning. A study by the Department for Education in England also confirmed that workforce instability continues to be a problem. They reported that up to 68% of full-time family social workers left the field within two to five years.

Why Employers are Struggling to Retain Social Workers

Regulators attempted to address this by offering to teach resilience to professional social workers, suggesting that they are to blame for their inability to cope with work-related stress. They often overlooked the issue of limited resources and structural failings getting in the way. The government also glossed over it as a result of low recruitment and retention. Employers seem unwilling to lend a hand to social workers to help mitigate stressful conditions.

Although Bedfordshire University recently developed a new diagnostic tool for assessing employee health, some workers have expressed concern that these procedures would portray individual practitioners in a negative light. It is unclear whether these new approaches can reduce the emotional distress experienced by social workers, even though mindfulness does actually enhance employee well-being.

Social Workers Need More Resources to Provide Adequate Care

To turn this situation around, government leaders must acknowledge the trauma experienced by social workers due to witnessing the hardships of the families they work with. More resources in the form of housing, education, and employment could make a significant impact on their lives. Unfortunately, social workers can only do so much to help the disenfranchised groups by treating their mental health and substance abuse.

Social service employers must address the pervasive ideology that undermines individual efforts to resolve these problems or else social workers will continue to jump ship.

To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Health section of our blog.


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