burnout affecting mental healthcare workers

Risk of Burnout for Mental Health Care Workers

The pandemic has brought most of the world to its knees. The need for mental healthcare is skyrocketing, which is leaving mental health professionals in a bind. The risk of burnout for mental health care workers is at an all-time high in-part because of Covid-19, as more clients than ever before are turning up before them.

But what exactly is burnout and how is it affecting mental healthcare workers? Here’s a rundown.


What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion as a result of prolonged and excessive stress. It happens when one feels emotionally drained, overwhelmed, and unable to meet consistent demands.

Burnout saps energy and reduces productivity, leaving you feeling particularly hopeless, helpless, resentful, and cynical. The end result is a feeling of resignation – like you have nothing more to give.

The negative effects of burnout affect every facet of one’s life. Your work, home, and social life will all feel the effects. Burnout can also result in long-term physical changes that can make you more vulnerable to illnesses.

Signs and symptoms

Most of us have bad days sometimes – we might feel overloaded, helpless, or unappreciated. If this feeling persists beyond a day, however, this might be a sign that you’re burned out.

Burnout doesn’t happen overnight, rather, it creeps up on you over time. The symptoms can be quite subtle in the beginning but will escalate as time goes on.

Some physical symptoms of burnout include:

  • Being drained or tired most of the time
  • Falling sick regularly
  • Headaches or muscle pain
  • Change in sleep or appetite habits

Emotional symptoms of burnout include:

  • A constant sense of self-doubt or failure
  • Emotional detachment
  • Loss of motivation
  • A negative or overly cynical outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction

Behavioural symptoms of burnout include:

  • Withdrawal from responsibilities
  • Isolation
  • Procrastination
  • Substance abuse
  • Absenteeism from work

The impact of burnout on mental health employees

The pandemic has taken a toll on every facet of our health infrastructure from general practice to emergency workers. And mental health employees aren’t immune to the trend.

As whole states endure escalating cases and tough restrictions, the number of people seeking mental health help is surging, leaving mental health professionals dealing with backbreaking caseloads. The demand for mental health services is so high right now, mental health professionals are at very real risk of burnout.

In some cases, it’s already happening. Mental health professionals are falling victim to fatigue and stress, forcing them to take a step back from their roles to try and take care of their own mental and physical wellbeing.

There’s no getting around the reality that mental health employees are essential in today’s COVID-centric world, but they’re also human beings at very real risk of failing under the increased pressure put on them.

The need to support mental healthcare workers

Mental healthcare is an essential service, particularly in today’s climate. In order to continue helping struggling Australians, processes and procedures must be put in place to better support mental healthcare workers at risk of burnout. We are holding so much space especially for all of the healthcare, mental health care and frontline workers during this difficult time.


If you or someone you know is struggling with the effects from Covid and/or burnout do not hesitate to reach out to us today. CONTACT US – Copecentre


Please also see our related blog articles:

Understanding the Physical Symptoms of Stress – Copecentre

Effects of Vicarious Trauma, Stress and Burnout – Copecentre

Keeping on top of mental health through COVID-19 Crisis – Copecentre