Date of Conferral





Human Services


Avon Hart-Johnson


Mental health practitioners often suffer physical exhaustion, burnout, and increased stress from providing care to postincarcerated men with elevated mental illness. When working in these high environments, helping professionals, may neglect self-care when caring for clients under stressful conditions. Neglected self-care can have adverse implications for both the patient and the mental health professional. The research question aligned with the purpose of this study was to understand what grounded theory that explains how mental health practitioners manage self-care while providing services to postincarcerated men with elevated mental illness. Self-care theory was used as a conceptual framework for this qualitative grounded theory study, where in-depth, face-to-face, semistructured interviews were conducted with 20 mental health practitioners over the age of 18, and who provided services to the subject population. Data analysis using the constant comparative method led to 4 themes and ultimately a grounded theory of meaning, barriers, strategies, and support of mental health practitioners (MBSS-MHP) was developed to specifically answer the research question. Among the conclusions were that mental health practitioners who provide services to postincarcerated men with elevated mental illness experience many barriers, including compassion fatigue, emotional distress, lack of self-care, and overly high expectations; as such, more support is paramount for them to maintain good mental health and cope with job-specific stressors. Implications for positive social change include increasing awareness of processes used by mental health practitioners to improve their well-being, which may inspire the creation of guidelines and training materials related to self-care practices.