Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2023


Goal Statement: The goal of this social change project is to find ways of preventing burnout among mental health professionals in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Significant Findings: Burnout among mental health professionals is a critical issue for which prevention strategies can be highly effective. Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of the country’s fastest-growing cities, with demand for services, including those provided by mental health professionals, increasing with the growing population. Charlotte’s population growth, coupled with the lingering impacts of COVID-19, places Charlotte’s mental health professionals at increased burnout risk. Burnout among mental health professionals negatively impacts the individual and the clients and communities they serve. Physical and emotional exhaustion leading to the depersonalization of clients and professional impairment are significant burnout risks for mental health professionals (Posluns & Gall, 2019). Theoretical models such as the social-ecological model, social cognitive theory (SCT), and structural theory help to understand burnout risk and protective factors in the mental health profession. White female mental health professionals are at increased risk of burnout mainly due to their disproportionate representation in the field. Self-care is an essential protective factor against burnout and requires advocacy at the institutional, community, and public policy levels to be effective among individual mental health professionals. Increasing education and awareness of burnout risks and prevention options is critical to reducing burnout among mental health professionals in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Objectives/Strategies/Interventions/Next Steps: The objective is to prevent burnout among mental health professionals in Charlotte, North Carolina, and ideally among professionals nationwide. Strategies and interventions for reducing burnout risk include 1) advocating for The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) to include more specific curriculum requirements related to self-care and burnout prevention; 2) encouraging mental health professional organizations to include burnout education and awareness on their websites and in their programming; 3) understand local, state and federal legislation and voice objections to policies that will increase demand for mental health services; 4) advocate for sufficient funding for mental health services at the state and federal levels; 5) encourage and help implement self-care support and burnout awareness programs at places of employment. It is essential that mental health professionals understand their burnout risks, can recognize burnout in others and have strategies and support in place for mitigating those risks.