Eric Tucker, a member of the 2014 EdD in Kinesiology cohort and a part-time lecturer in the at North Carolina State University Department of Social Work at North Carolina State University recently published an article to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Mental Health Newsletter on self-care. As a mental health professional in private practice in Raleigh, NC, he has an extensive background in mental health, which includes exploring the relationship between physical activity and stress-management. He is especially passionate about the promotion of physically active lifestyles among mental health practitioners to aid in work-related stress management, and to assist in addressing professional burnout.
As noted in his article, there are a number of work-related stressors that mental health social workers face, which put them at risk of developing professional burnout. Professional burnout can lead to physical health, mental health, and psychosocial adjustment problems. Left unaddressed, burnout can lead skilled social workers to leave a field where they are desperately needed, compromising the overall quality of care for patients and the profession at large. Given the high risk of burnout among social workers and other professionals in high-stress environments, various self-care interventions should be developed. Physical activity has been shown to aid in stress-management, and could play an important role in potentially addressing burnout risk factors.
In “Self-Care for Mental Health Practitioners”, Eric explores the problems of burnout and offers practical stress-management suggestions for professionals at risk of burnout. Eric stated, “studying in the EdD in Kinesiology program has played a vital role in my understanding burnout. More importantly, this program has helped me identify specific research questions about burnout and potentially viable solutions that could assist with addressing serious problems that negatively affects social workers, clients, and the field of social work. Eric went on to emphasize the importance of self-care in working environment. He said “I believe others in high-stress environments, such as teachers, coaches, and those in direct care roles, can also benefit from self-care interventions to aid in their own stress-management.”