The health of service providers plays an important role in providing high quality and effective health and social care, as burnout is linked to lower service satisfaction and poorer health outcomes among service users. Yet, working in the homeless, supportive housing, and harm reduction sectors can be stressful and challenging, and homeless sector services often have limited resources and difficulties retaining staff. For example, a study of emergency shelter workers in Western Canada found that one-third had posttraumatic stress symptoms and one-quarter felt burnt-out. Given the challenging nature of working in the homeless sector, there are resources for preventing burnout among service providers. However, there is also a need to know more about the mental health and well-being of service providers who work with people experiencing homelessness.
Drs. Nick Kerman and Sean Kidd (principal investigator) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health are leading a study to better understand the mental health and well-being of service providers who work with people with histories of homelessness in Canada.
Recruitment has started!
As part of the study, a survey is now available to be completed online. The survey, which can be completed anonymously, asks about demographic information, type of employment, mental health, social support, substance use, unmet mental health needs, and work experiences and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A token of appreciation that involves a donation to a charity will be provided for each service provider who completes the online survey.
Who can participate in the online survey?
The online survey can be completed by people who meet the following criteria:
- Are 18 years of age or older
- Work in Canada
- Are a direct service provider to people who are currently or formerly homeless (i.e., your work involves seeing or meeting regularly with people who are currently or formerly homeless)
- Work in either the homeless, supportive housing, or harm reduction service sectors
How do I access the online survey?
The survey can be accessed online at the following address: https://is.gd/service_providers
How will the results of the study be used?
The study results will be used to promote the positive mental health of service providers who work with people experiencing homelessness. There will be several deliverables from this project:
- The results will be published in an open-access journal so that they are accessible to everyone free of charge.
- An educational toolkit on mental health and wellness for service providers in the homeless, supportive housing, and harm reduction sectors will be developed and made freely available online. The toolkit will include a summary of the study results, strategies for assessing and preventing burnout, and more.
- Opportunities to share the results and toolkit recommendations via webinar and workshops will also be explored.
If you would like to be added to the email list to receive a copy of the resources that are developed from this study or hear about upcoming knowledge exchange events, such as webinars and other presentations, please email Dr. Nick Kerman at Nick.Kerman@camh.ca.
Where can I learn more about the study?
If you have any questions about the study or would like to learn more about it, please contact Dr. Nick Kerman at (416) 535-8501 x33528 or Nick.Kerman@camh.ca.