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Workforce Retention for Suicide Prevention Programs

Paid staff and volunteers are critical to the daily functions of a rural suicide prevention program and to its continued success. Therefore, it is important to consider strategies to retain the program's workforce. One component of employee retention is salary and benefits, which can be a challenge for suicide prevention programs where funding may already be limited. For both paid employees and volunteers, job satisfaction and fulfillment are key to keeping workers engaged. This can include flexible work schedules, growth and leadership opportunities, and meaningful engagement with the community and one another.

It is also important to recognize that many people who pursue work or volunteerism in suicide prevention may have been directly impacted by suicide themselves. As a result, workers may be very passionate about suicide prevention, bringing energy and new ideas to the program. However, the work may also be very personal and potentially emotionally taxing. Care should be taken to ensure that staff and volunteers are given opportunities for emotional support and renewal to avoid burnout.

Resources to Learn More

Program Sustainability Assessment Tool
An interactive tool for public health, social service, and clinical care programs to help them develop and assess their sustainability plan.
Organization(s): Center for Public Health Systems Science, Washington University in St. Louis