Mental health and wellness in the social service sector

University of Toronto , Rotman School of Management

There is growing recognition across a variety of sectors that organizations are responsible for supporting employees whose well-being is negatively impacted by their work. We believe that this is a particularly important issue within the helping professions. Social workers, in particular, are known to work with clients going through extremely difficult life circumstances, and to experience distress in response to their clients’ suffering. This negatively impacts workers’ wellbeing, work satisfaction, and job performance. Over time, this may result in burnout and compassion fatigue. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of understanding around how organizations can best support employees who experience distress as a result of their work. This is particularly the case within the social service sector, where organizations are inherently structured around the needs of their clients, and work with limited resources. The overall objective of this study is to learn more about how working with difficult or traumatized clients impacts workers, as well as how organizations work with their employees’ distress, and how they balance employee and client needs. To answer these questions, we are seeking to interview front-line and managerial staff at social service organizations.

Your Impact

By participating in this study, you contribute to our understanding of these important issues in the social service sector, and how organizations can support the mental health of their employees

Eligibility Criteria

All genders

At least 20 years old

Study Tasks



This study has been approved by the University of Toronto Ethics Board (#39148)


compassion fatigue
mental health

Activity and Time

Health and Wellness


Weekdays, Weeknights, Weekends

20 minute(s) - 90 minute(s) per session

1 session(s)

Approximately 1 hour interview, over the phone or an online platform such as Skype or Zoom.


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Study Address

This study doesn't require any in-person visits. Complete it in the comfort of your own home!

Posting date: Apr 20, 2020

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