Attention A T users. To access the menus on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Please switch auto forms mode to off. 2. Hit enter to expand a main menu option (Health, Benefits, etc). 3. To enter and activate the submenu links, hit the down arrow. You will now be able to tab or arrow up or down through the submenu options to access/activate the submenu links.
Attention A T users. To access the combo box on this page please perform the following steps. 1. Press the alt key and then the down arrow. 2. Use the up and down arrows to navigate this combo box. 3. Press enter on the item you wish to view. This will take you to the page listed.
help for homeless veterans

Stay Connected with the VHA Homeless Programs Office

Sign up for email updates.

Contact the Homeless Veterans Outreach
Veterans Crisis Line Badge

VA Homeless Programs


Staff Safety & Burnout


Staff Safety & Burnout

illustration of worker at desk full of papersWorking with certain groups of high-risk/vulnerable clients can create situations where your physical safety may be at risk. You should be aware of how you can minimize that risk and how to respond should you find yourself in such a situation. Studies have shown that working in a high stress environment can also impact the emotional well being of a provider which may lead to workplace burnout.  It is important to be able to recognize the signs of burnout and to utilize tools that may help you avoid career burnout.

Active Shooter Booklet


Personal Security Tips


Provider Burnout Assessment Tool


Video: Traumatic Stress and Organizational Dynamics among Homeless Sector Workers

Clinician Self-Care: You in the Center of the Circle of Health - The purpose of this knowledge-based educational web course is to describe the challenges clinicians face and enhance their own resilience against burnout by creating their own health plan.

Processes and Strategies to Enhance Staff Safety in Providing Care in the Community (February 2020)

TedX talk: Beyond the cliff

Responding to Workplace Exposure to Trauma (December 18, 2019)

Why We Burn Out and What Can Be Done to Prevent It (May 2019)

Behavioral Management Training for Working in the Community (December 19, 2018)

Traumatic Stress and Organizational Dynamics among Homeless Sector Workers

Provider Strategies for Coping with Burnout and Secondary Traumatic Stress

Preventing and Eliminating Burnout in Practice (April 2017): This webinar presents organizational strategies to promote retention and recruitment by reducing burnout and increasing job satisfaction, including: protecting clinicians from unnecessary challenges; providing skills and tools to overcome challenges; and supporting leaders who are committed to supporting work/life balance. Specific interventions include: reducing disorganization, promoting shared values, individualizing work schedules, and supporting clinician wellness.

It's time to talk about physician burnout and moral injury.  Kopacz MS, Ames D, Koenig HG.Kopacz MS, et al. Lancet Psychiatry. 2019 Nov;6(11):e28. doi: 10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30385-2

An exploratory study on the factors affecting the mental health and well-being of frontline workers in homeless services. Lemieux-Cumberlege A, Taylor EP. Health Soc Care Community. 2019 Jul;27(4):e367-e378. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12738. Epub 2019 Mar 12.

PTSD Symptoms, Vicarious Traumatization, and Burnout in Front Line Workers in the Homeless Sector. Waegemakers Schiff J, Lane AM. Community Ment Health J. 2019 Apr;55(3):454-462. doi: 10.1007/s10597-018-00364-7. Epub 2019 Jan 25.

Reducing Frequent Utilization of Psychiatric Emergency Services Among Veterans While Maintaining Quality of Care. Blonigen DM, Manfredi L, Heinz A, Bi X, Suarez P, Nevedal AL, Vashi AA, Timko C, Wagner T. Psychiatr Serv. 2018 Apr 1;69(4):438-447. doi: 10.1176/ Epub 2018 Feb 1

Behavioral Emergency Response Team: Implementation Improves Patient Safety, Staff Safety, and Staff Collaboration., Zicko CJM, Schroeder LRA, Byers CWS, Taylor LAM, Spence CDL.
Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2017 Oct;14(5):377-384. doi: 10.1111/wvn.12225. Epub 2017 Apr 3

Staffing challenges and strategies for organizations serving individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness. Olivet J, McGraw S, Grandin M, Bassuk E. J Behav Health Serv Res. 2010 Apr;37(2):226-38. doi: 10.1007/s11414-009-9201-3. Epub 2010 Jan 6.

Outreach workers' experiences in a homeless outreach project: issues of boundaries, ethics and staff safety. Fisk D, Rakfeldt J, Heffernan K, Rowe M., Psychiatr Q. 1999 Fall;70(3):231-46.

Assessing and Managing Risk of Violence in Veterans

No available resources

No available resources

Copenhagen Burnout Inventory: The Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI) is another measure of burnout. The CBI is designed to assess the degree to which fatigue and exhaustion change over time. The authors note that the CBI focuses on this single dimension of burnout because:

  • The three dimensions of burnout (exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment) have been confirmed by factor analyses as three distinct and different dimensions, with unique precursors and consequences.
  • The literature indicates that depersonalization should be characterized as a coping strategy and reduced accomplishment should be seen as one of many consequences of long-term stress, rather than being included as elements of a burnout syndrome.
  • Exhaustion is the component of burnout that is most likely to change over time.

For Leaders: Supporting Your Staff During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic Tips to help employers to support staff in the workplace over time (e.g., early and extended recommendations), including sample communication language.

For Leaders: Helping Employees in the Aftermath of Loss Tips to help leaders support grieving employees through communication, flexibility and workplace policies.

Grief: Different Reactions and Timelines After a Loss Learn about common grief reactions and stages of loss as well as prolonged or complicated grief.

Grief: Taking Care of Yourself After a Loss Learn strategies to increase self-care while grieving a loss.

Grief: Helping Someone Else After a Loss Learn strategies to support someone grieving a loss.

Maslach Burnout Inventory: The Maslach Burnout Inventory is a more general measure of burnout for professionals working in human services, as opposed to being specific to those who work with trauma survivors. The instrument has three scales: emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and personal accomplishment.

Stress First Aid (SFA) Stress First Aid (SFA) is a framework to improve recovery from stress reactions, both in oneself and in coworkers. The goal of SFA is to identify stress reactions along a stress continuum and to help reduce the likelihood that stress outcomes develop into more severe or long-term problems using core actions appropriate for self-care and coworker support. Training materials are available.

Compassion Fatigue: The High Cost of Caring 

The Challenges of Supervision in Health Care for Homeless (HCH): Helping Staff Succeed

Coping with Stress, Creating & Maintaining Hope

SAMHSA Resources on Self-Care for Providers

Safety Practices for Low Demand Programs

Compassion Fatigue Project

Taking Care: Coping with Grief and Loss, self-assessment tool for caregivers of trauma victims

Self-Care: Taking Care of Our Selves So We Can Take Care of Others

Trauma Stewardship Institute

Podcast Series: VHA Homeless Programs - Self Care for Staff

External Link Disclaimer: This page contains links that will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.

*To search the entire site, please use the search bar in the upper right corner of the webpage