The new survey of 550 U.S.-based mental health practitioners reveals insights on how burnout is driving a surging therapist shortage, further limiting access to mental health care
LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)– SimplePractice, an EngageSmart solution and industry-leading platform simplifying the health and wellness experience for more than 178,000 solo and small group practitioners, today released the 2023 State of Therapist Well-Being Report. In honor of World Mental Health Day, SimplePractice surveyed 550 U.S.-based therapists—including counselors, social workers, and psychologists—to understand, quantify, and contextualize their burnout and its downstream effects on clients and patients.
Reasons contributing to therapists’ burnout, based on the results of a 2023 SimplePractice survey of 550 therapists. (Graphic: Business Wire)
The report offers insights at a critically important time, as the demand for therapy and mental healthcare has skyrocketed in recent years. In fact, the number of Americans seeking mental health treatment is almost twice as high as it was two decades ago. The country is also experiencing a behavioral health workforce shortage, further compounding the effects of this increased demand.
“Our mission at SimplePractice is to improve access to quality care by equipping health and wellness practitioners with the tools they need to thrive,” said Jonathan Seltzer, President of SimplePractice. “Our latest report shines a light on critical areas of concern and areas of opportunity to support practitioners within this challenging environment. We’re hopeful that the findings within our 2023 Therapist Well-Being Report is a rallying call for policymakers, mental health institutes, and fellow technology providers to do more to alleviate the burdens facing mental health practitioners, and ultimately, improve access and quality of care for patients.”
Key findings from the report include:
52% of mental health practitioners reported experiencing burnout this year
The survey results reveal significant burnout among practitioners—as more than half have experienced burnout in the last year, with 29% reporting that they currently feel burned out. Almost half (49%) of those currently burned out say that their burnout has gotten worse since the first wave of COVID-19.
A major contributor to therapist burnout is administrative tasks
Survey respondents who are currently burned out shared the contributors to their burnout.
- Over half (55%) said administrative tasks have contributed to their burnout; those who accept insurance were two times more likely to agree that the administrative burdens in running a private practice contribute to burnout
- 54% noted compassion fatigue as a factor towards their burnout
- Nearly half (44%) noted low pay as a factor
- One-third (33%) said severity and complexity of client needs (aka “acuity of my clients”) increased
- One-quarter (25%) noted their caseload is too high
- More than half (60%) said work-life balance contributes to their burnout
Mental health practitioners who experienced burnout in the last year are making significant changes
Half (51%) of mental health practitioners who have experienced burnout note that it has made them more cynical, a common symptom of burnout that can make individuals feel less attached to work. Nearly three quarters (73%) of those therapists who have experienced burnout in the past year, said that they hesitate to take on severe/acute clients and nearly half (49%) noted that they had reduced their client caseload in the past year due to burnout.
Nearly a third (29%) of practitioners who experienced burnout in the past year reported that they have considered or are currently considering leaving the mental health field. With the U.S. already in the throes of a mental health crisis and a surging need for mental health support amidst a lack of resources, this finding from the SimplePractice survey indicates that the crisis has the potential to worsen.
Therapists need mental health support, too
Therapists’ burnout can have an impact on their patients, and over one-third (35%) of those currently burned out stated their burnout has affected the quality of care they can give. Almost one-third (30%) of practitioners who have experienced burnout in the past year reported they struggle to be fully present for all of their clients.
“SimplePractice’s report highlighted therapists’ need for support and resources to ensure therapists can do what they do best: continue to help those who need them the most,” said Smita Wadhawan, Chief Marketing Officer of SimplePractice. “In honor of World Mental Health Day, we’re launching a campaign centered around the data with helpful resources to combat therapist burnout.”
To learn more about the survey, view the full survey report. The World Mental Health Day campaign landing page with bespoke resources can be accessed here. To learn more about SimplePractice, visit the website.
SimplePractice, an EngageSmart healthcare solution, is an industry-leading platform simplifying the health and wellness experience for both the practitioner and patient. SimplePractice supports health and wellness providers in their journey from starting to growing a thriving practice.
More than 178,000 providers trust SimplePractice to build their business through industry leading software, ongoing education and powerful tools that connect them to clients seeking care. Clients can find and request an appointment directly with the right therapist and manage their care all in one place.
Recognized by Built In as one of the Best Midsize Companies to Work For in Los Angeles in 2022, SimplePractice is proud to pave the future of healthtech. To learn more, visit SimplePractice.com, or join the conversation on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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