Therapists and consultants name burnout as a reason for leaving the profession

GREEN BAY, Wisconsin (WBAY) – One of the consequences of the emerging pandemic is that a number of people are abandoning mental health careers.

Action 2 News has spoken to a handful of therapists and counselors over the past three weeks who say they are feeling overwhelmed and burned out by the mounting need.

“You’re giving away your lunch break. They give away their preparation time. They are giving away their extra places to help these families and to prove them right. But over time, it wears them out and wears them down,” said Scott Radtke, Catalpa Health’s chief clinical officer.

According to Radtke, more and more people from outside of northeastern Wisconsin are calling to make an appointment because they can’t find help.

“This period since the start of Covid has resulted in the highest number of families being referred to our clinic in any 25 year I’ve seen as a clinician here in the valley,” Radtke said.

He says of the seven providers who left Catalpa Health, five are no longer therapists.

Mental health workers, Action 2 News, spoke to reports of increasing burnout rates among their colleagues. This is largely due to clients coming to us more anxious and depressed due to the pandemic.

“It is very difficult to maintain all this hopelessness for our customers,” said Rosangela Berbert. She is the Executive Director of the Samaritan Counseling Center in Fox Valley.

She says clinicians feel compassion fatigue and don’t take the time to restore their inner resources.

“We have worked with our employees to recognize our need for self-care. We recognize that we have to say that to take some time off, we might have to reduce our case load by a couple of weeks,” Berbert said.

Still, doctors say you shouldn’t stop looking for them, and there are options when you’re in a crisis.

“Remember, the ER is here for you,” said Katie Meiers, supervisor case manager at Network Health. “It’s not just for heart attacks and other emergencies. It’s also for a mental crisis if you don’t feel well. You feel like you’re about to hurt yourself, then it’s time to go inside.”

Counselors and therapists also recommend asking a family member or friend for help.

Here are some resources:

  • 211
  • NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) 1-800-950-6264
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration 1-800-662-HELP (4357),

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