Avoiding burnout: How to help support coordinators

Support coordinators play a critical role in the disability sector. They help participants access the right supports for them while increasing their quality of life.

Support coordinators are widely known for being kind, and talented, and for going above and beyond to help those under their care.

Unfortunately, though, turnover and burnout are common in the sector. With an increasing demand for support coordinators, it’s essential that coordinators are supported, valued, and that they’re able to take time to nurture their mental health.

The issue of burnout

The role of a support coordinator is unique. Coordinators need a broad range of specialist skills. That means training takes time and support coordinators cannot be readily replaced when they leave.

Burnout in the industry is a serious issue. Currently, the NDIS needs 83,000 new workers by 2024 –– a 31% increase in the workforce. But a high turnover means that the NDIS will likely lose roughly 213,000 workers by 2024.

These high turnover rates appear to be down to mental exhaustion and stress. Contributing factors are often high workloads, large expectations from participants and their families, a lack of clear guidelines around role responsibilities, and the stress associated with working in disability.

These are things that critically need to be addressed.

Supporting support coordinators

It’s a shared responsibility across the sector to ensure that support coordinators are given what they need to thrive in every area.

In particular, employers must be aware of burnout and adopt systems to avoid it happening and step in when it does.

These strategies include:

  • Sufficient training and support
  • Supervision and regular reviews
  • Clear guidelines for role responsibilities
  • Clarity on boundaries to avoid overworking
  • Formal mental health support
  • Open forums to ask questions and seek guidance
  • Regular time off and breaks
  • Workload reviews and assistance with administration

Tips for support coordinators

There are also ways in which support coordinators can avoid burnout.

For support coordinators, some helpful tools include:

  • Speaking to your employer about role responsibilities.
  • Setting clear boundaries with participants and their families –– your employer may be able to help with this.
  • Mindfulness and meditation. Meditation can reduce anxiety, reactivity, and stress . Try a free meditation app, or attend a group class. It’s also worth speaking to your employer about formal mental health support.
  • Deep slow breathing can also reduce stress hormones, improve attention and help mental function . This is a useful tool as it’s free and can be practiced anywhere.
  • Speak to someone – whether it’s a counselor, psychologist, or a friend, sharing what you’re going through can be very helpful.

Without support coordinators, the NDIS simply doesn’t function. Supporting and valuing support coordinator then, is critical for ensuring everyone across the sector can thrive.

We’re here to help. Reach out to our friendly team on 1300 60 33 89 or at [email protected].

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