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Demand for behavioral health direct-care providers is increasing due to shortage of licensed behavioral health providers. However, high turnover has been reported among them with limited exploratory research. The present study aimed to identify a wide variety of barriers and promoters of retention and strategies to retain direct care workers. An online, self-administered survey designed to measure demographics, job satisfaction, perceived importance of various job aspects, intention to leave, perceived stress and sources of stress was administered among 179 direct care workers from four agencies. Multiple logistic regression exhibited higher odds of intending to leave for those who had higher general perceived stress (OR=1.3, CI=1.1-1.7) and those who experienced stress from supervisor (OR=5.0, CI=1.7-14.4) and organizational culture (OR=4.2, CI=1.1-18.4). Work-related stress is a prevalent issue among direct-care providers and may be associated with turnover. Policy formulation and implementation directed at strategies to reduce stress may be warranted to improve retention.

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Direct care, behavioral health, health workforce, retention, turnover


Community Health | Mental and Social Health

Barriers and Promoters of Retention of Direct Care Workers in Community Mental Health Agencies