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‘It’s intense’ – A mixed-methods analysis of how the COVID-pandemic is impacting on the wellbeing of practitioners in a UK homeless organisation

Schneider, Christel, Mastalerz, Natalia, Hobson, Christopher W., Ahmed, Maharin and Shelton, Katherine H. ORCID: 2024. ‘It’s intense’ – A mixed-methods analysis of how the COVID-pandemic is impacting on the wellbeing of practitioners in a UK homeless organisation. Journal of Social Distress and Homelessness 33 (1) , pp. 198-209. 10.1080/10530789.2022.2141870

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Knowledge about the wellbeing of medical professionals working through the COVID-19 pandemic and its practice implications is expanding extensively. It remains, however, sparse for 'essential' (aka critical) community practitioners. We addressed this gap using a repeated-measures analysis of COVID-pandemic wellbeing experiences of critical, homeless-sector practitioners. An explanatory sequential mixed-methods design, capitalizing on a pre-pandemic needs-analysis, longitudinally followed 42 practitioners (30 support staff and 12 project managers) in a single, national UK-based homeless-support organization. Practitioners completed measures, prior to and six months into the COVID-pandemic, of: mental wellbeing, secondary traumatic stress (STS), burnout and compassion satisfaction. Our qualitative questions captured practitioners’ wellbeing, working practice and support experiences in COVID-times. While the pandemic detrimentally impacted on levels of STS, burnout, and general wellbeing in support staff, managers’ mental and professional wellbeing remained consistent with their pre-pandemic scores. Our qualitative analysis identified intense stressors in support staff (not shared by project managers) which hampered client-practitioner relationships and encouraged 'them-and-us' support staff-manager dynamics. The identified nuanced (and contrasting) stressors experienced by practitioners in a national UK homeless-support organization offer insight into what residual and new wellbeing challenges need to be addressed in research and practice as we recover and progress from the pandemic.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Taylor and Francis Group
ISSN: 1053-0789
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 October 2022
Date of Acceptance: 20 October 2022
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 14:00

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