Trend Report: The Top Issues Facing Mental Health Agencies Today

At the end of 2018, executive leaders in health and human services organizations across the country were polled about what they saw as the most pressing issues and challenges they are facing today. This report, the 2019 State of Workforce Management, grabbed our attention particularly because the majority of participants were from mental health agencies or child and family services, a.k.a. where many of our supervisors and supervisees are employed!

The exciting news is, the results are promising. Executive leaders cited increased employee engagement as well as recruiting and retaining top talent as two of the top three most important trends they see happening in the year ahead. While it’s one thing to recognize an issue, what we were most excited to learn about was how these leaders plan to put action behind it through more employee-focused policies (offering more opportunities for advancement and creating a more supportive culture) and investing in new tools and technology to improve efficiency and cutdown on busywork.  

Motivo’s HIPAA-compliant platform addresses many of the issues this survey uncovered. Employee engagement and retention is so important in mental health agencies with high-need, vulnerable clients because rates of burnout and turnover can also be so high. This has a ripple effect of contributing to low morale, lowered emotional investment and the loss of talented, compassionate counselors and staff. Offering digital alternatives, such as telesupervision or teleconferencing for groups, paves the way for more employee autonomy and flexibility, which leads to higher rates of employee satisfaction and longer career commitments. 

Additionally, the incorporation of video tools facilitates community building among employees, leading to deeper feelings of belonging and job investment – Hello, supportive workplace! Digital tools like Motivo also streamline inefficiencies related to paperwork, regulations, and document sharing, which is often a complaint from – and drain on – already overworked staff. 

Leaders in the field are understanding that “building an engaging, collaborative, and supportive culture is critical in these often stressful and taxing work environments.” We couldn’t agree more. 

If you work for a mental health agency or community service board and would like more information about how Motivo works for supervision, let’s talk!

Emily Donahue

Emily Donahue

Emily Donahue holds a Master's in Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University. She works as a limited permit therapist at a private practice in Brooklyn, earning her clinical and supervision hours for full licensure. She has a special interest in women and alcohol use and her dream is to meet Irving Yalom one day.

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