Retain Behavioral Health Providers

Project Name:
Retain Behavioral Health Providers

Team Leaders, Members and their Organizational Affiliations:

  • Sarah Hubbell – Leelanau County Family Court
  • Erika Solomonson – NLCMH


  • Kyle Byrnes – Munson Healthcare
  • Barbara Conley – Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department Board of Health
  • Ty Curtis – Grand Traverse County Health Department; Clinical Supervisor for Adolescent Mental Health Providers, Private Practice Therapist
  • Gail Kloss – Women’s Resource Center of Northern Michigan
  • Susan Kramer – Munson Healthcare
  • David McGreaham – NMORC
  • Susan Stendel – District Health Department #10

September 2022 Behavioral Health Summit Materials

The behavioral health workforce in the region is stretched beyond capacity; the pandemic has made an already strenuous job even harder, resulting in widespread burnout. Behavioral health providers are chronically overworked and under-appreciated. These conditions have led to a massive exodus from the field, resulting in a shortage of behavioral health providers during a national peak in poor mental health days.

Created a toolkit for behavioral health leaders in the region illuminating the steps they can take to reduce employee burnout: Healthy Workplaces = Thriving Employees. The toolkit includes the findings from the Burnout and Work-Life survey of 182 behavioral health providers in the region, recommendations for best-practices leaders can implement to promote employee engagement and reduce burnout, and concrete suggestions and resources for how to put these in place.

Discovered that a significant portion of behavioral health providers feel disenfranchised, unvalued, and overworked. For example, 28% of BH providers in the region said they are not able to influence management to obtain the equipment/space they need for their work, 31% said they are not recognized for all of the things they contribute, and 54.6% said they do not have the time to do the work they are assigned. More details on these, and other findings, can be found in the Healthy Workplaces = Thriving Employees toolkit. Luckily, these strains on the behavioral health workforce can be addressed at the organizational level with evidence-based solutions to address and reduce the strains on providers.

  • As a behavioral health leader, read and implement the best-practices recommended in the Healthy Workplaces = Thriving Employees toolkit.
  • As a behavioral health provider, share the toolkit with your supervisors and advocate for the adoption of the best-practices that would help you and your peers. 
  • Share the toolkit with behavioral health providers and leaders you know!

April 2022 Behavioral Health Summit Materials

There are not enough providers in the region to close the gap in care. On top of that, the pandemic has increased demand on behavioral health providers and provider burnout has skyrocketed.

Distributed the Maslach Burnout Survey and Work Life Inventory to behavioral health professionals across the region to understand current levels of provider burnout and the factors contributing to burnout. Also gathered survey responses related to recommendations for addressing burnout and recruiting more behavioral health providers to the region.

Collected surveys from 176 behavioral health professionals across the region representing 29 organizations and 18 private providers. Overall, survey findings revealed that about 60% of the respondents reported high levels of at least one type of burnout, with the most common form of burnout related to feeling emotionally exhausted from the work. 71% reported that their job workloads exceeded their ability to perform their job well. Burnout levels were strongly correlated with work life elements. For example, individuals who reported higher workload levels and did not feel they were recognized for their efforts reported higher burnout levels. 35% of respondents indicated that they plan to leave their current job within the next 3 years.

  • Continue to collect burnout survey data from additional BH professionals in the region
  • Continue to explore the burnout survey data findings to identify sources of burnout, who is most at risk of burnout in the region
  • Inform local leaders of the burnout findings.
  • Develop recommendations for addressing BH professional burnout in the region
  • Identify and offer solutions for BH burnout in the region