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Worker Wellbeing

What is Worker Wellbeing?

There is increasing recognition that workers in the health and human services field often experience high levels of work-related demands and stressors, and are hence particularly vulnerable to the experience of stress and burnout.

Stress refers to psychological, physical, and behavioural responses to work-related demands over a discreteor short-term period.

Burnout is a form of chronic strain that develops over time in response to prolonged periods of high stress. It is a long-term process characterised by "chronic malfunctioning" and nnegative and cynical attitudes towards clients and work in general.

Consequences of Stress & Burnout

A range of undesirable consequences for the organisation have been linked with worker stress including:

  • Reduced job satisfaction
  • Lower job performance (quantity and quality of work)
  • Increased absenteeism and turnover
  • Reduced organisational commitment.

Strategies to Address Stress & Burnout

The best strategy to prevent (or reduce) stress and burnout is to take a two-pronged approach that focuses on:

  1. The organisation (focus on changing the work environment or conditions that are causing stress/burnout
  2. The individual worker (e.g., teaching coping strategies and stress management techniques). 

NCETA Resources

To find out more about worker wellbeing, refer to Chapter 13 of the TIPS Kit.

NCETA has also produced a stress and burnout prevention handbook:

Stress and burnout: A prevention handbook for the alcohol and other drugs workforce (pdf 1,910 KB)

In addition, the following reports provide information on the extent and nature of stress and burnout among the Australian, and the Indigenous, AOD workforce:


Wellbeing, stress & burnout: A national survey of managers in alcohol and other drug treatment services (pdf 2,004 KB)

Satisfaction, stress and retention among alcohol and other drug workers in Australia (pdf 2,970 KB)