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Causes and Prevention of Burnout in Human Services Staff
Jennifer Ishida
University of Phoenix
October 31, 2011
David Worsely

Causes and Prevention of Burnout in Human Services Staff Many individuals in the human services field got into that type work because they enjoy helping others. Workers suffer burnout more than those who can separate personal feelings and work. This paper will review what burnout really is based on the description given by Maslach and Leiter, it will also describe different causes of burnout and ways to prevent it. This paper also examines the authors personality and how she reacts to personal or work-related stress. She will provide some insights into how to reduce the effects of burnout. This paper will also review what to do as a human service manager to be alert to help staff with his or her burnout.
Burnout is physical and emotional exhaustion, involving the development of negative self-concept, negative job attitudes, and a loss of concern and feelings for clients (Bbnet, 1995). Burnout spreads over time, putting people into a situation that is not easy to recover from; an individual becomes chronically exhausted, cynical, and detached from his or her work and he or she begins to think he or she is ineffective while at work (Maslach & Leiter, 1997).
High stress jobs are demanding and are cause for higher rates of burnout among others. When employees become burnt out he or she begins to lose sight of how to perform what he or she loves the best. With a constant change in a persons job descriptions and expectations, it makes a position feel impossible to master. When effort is put forth and is consistently not recognized, employees begin to believe he or she is unappreciated. When a goal is put forth but the time period is far from being adequate the stress of achieving or not achieving sets in. Poor and inconsistent leadership from supervisors or management also creates a stressful environment to work in. When employees begin to think he or she is unappreciated, unrecognized, unfairly treated, not in control of his or her activities, insecure in his or her position, and unsure of the requirements of his or her jobs, the downward spiral of burnout can begin (Scott, n.d.). It is important to take preventative measures against burnout.
Prevention of Burnout
It is imperative as an individual, a supervisor, a manager, or a CEO to attempt to prevent burnout for oneself and for the employees. There is a "Three R" approach to prevention of burnout; Recognize, Reverse, and Resilience (Helpguide, 2011). Recognize, and keep your eyes open for any possible warning signs that burnout could be happening. Reverse and try to undo any burnout damage by finding ways to help manage stress. Resilience, by taking care of oneself physically, mentally, and emotionally it is easier to deal with the stress factors of life. One of the biggest prevention measures is to understand what burnout is, the warning signs, and realizing that by ignoring the situation it will only make matters worse.
Work-Related Stress The writer of this paper has a personality that creates self-induced stress. Taking on too much job responsibility and allowing personal emotions to get involved with work life are a definite way to have work-related stress. The important thing is that the writer has had enough experience with stress and learning to understand her own emotions that she can deal with it and is able to see any self-destruction patterns before it gets out of control. Personally, the writer has used different techniques to successfully reduce work related stress. Trying to eat healthy, exercising, and taking short breaks throughout the work day when things get hectic.
Talking to managers when goals and timelines seem out of reach are all things that help to ensure that the stress of the writer stay in check which in turn helps to reduce the effects of potential burnout. Having an open relationship with the managers and supervisors allows an employee to be open about his or her work challenges.
Aiding in Staff Burnout
As a friend, a peer, a supervisor, a manager, or whoever it is important that when you see another individual who may deal with a lot of stress or is showing signs of burnout that you attempt to help him or her. Investigate and respond to any reports of stress, decide if it is work-related or personal and if personal is it affecting work, discuss the information and investigation results with the individual, suggest solutions and give the individual a chance to suggest his or her own possible solutions, and finally agree on how to implement the solutions (The Department of Labor, n.d.). Aiding in staff burnout is not only a way to ensure that you have good, healthy, and hardworking staff, it also helps to ensure the success of the goals set forth by the organization.
Burnout occurs when an individual suffers from emotional, mental, or physical exhaustion caused by undue stress in his or her life. Stress can consume ones life leaving him or her feeling completely helpless, hopeless, cynical, and even resentful. This paper has discussed what burnout is and what causes it. The paper also talks about the importance of prevention and measures that can and should be taken to prevent burnout. The writer of the paper goes on to discuss personal dealings with stress in the workplace and gives multiple examples of how she could overcome and prevent undue stress and burnout. Last, the paper covers the importance of aiding in staff burnout and ways that someone can help another individual who may be suffering the effects of stress, whether it is a friend, a supervisor, or a manager. Remember that stress and burnout can be controlled as long as you deal with the problem head on. Do not run away and hide from problems because they will not go away.

Bbnet. (1995). Cbs interactive business network. Retrieved from (2011). Preventing burnout. Retrieved from
Maslach and Leiter. (2007). The truth about burnout. Jossey-Bass Publishers
Scott, E. (n.d.). Retrieved from
The Department of Labor. (n.d.) Reactive responses to reports of stress. Retrieved from

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