NIOSH logo and tagline


Impact Wellbeing. Campaign Background

©Maskot/Getty Images

The Need

Healthcare workers experience an increased risk of suicide and other poor mental health outcomes due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Difficult working conditions,
  • Long work hours, rotating and irregular shifts,
  • Emotionally difficult situations with patients and patients’ family members,
  • Workplace violence, and
  • Routine exposure to human suffering and death.1,4,6

Healthcare workers have historically faced challenging working conditions. Even before the pandemic, the National Academy of Medicine found that burnout had reached “crisis levels” among healthcare workers in the United States.1

While many hospitals have made strides to address healthcare worker wellbeing, it is critical to go beyond encouraging self-care.2 Addressing workplace policies and practices is the best way to reduce burnout and support healthcare workers’ wellbeing. These operational changes can optimize patient outcomes and address costs associated with staff turnover, lost revenue, and threats to a hospital’s long-term viability.2

Healthcare Professional

Photo by ©Halfpoint Images/Getty Images

According to a 2021 survey hosted by Mental Health America:

  • 93% of healthcare workers reported being stressed out and stretched too thin;
  • 82% shared being emotionally and physically exhausted; and
  • 45% of nurses reported that they were not getting enough emotional support.3

Campaign Goals

Group Icon

Engage hospital leaders to revise existing or implement new evidence-informed operational policies that reduce burnout and improve professional wellbeing of hospital staff.

Clipboard Icon

Remove barriers and reduce the perceived stigma that prevent healthcare workers from seeking mental health-related services and support.

Hand holding heart Icon

Reduce burnout and improve the professional wellbeing of healthcare workers in hospital settings.


Person with tie

Primary Audience:

Hospital Leaders: Decision-makers within hospital systems, including Chief Executive Officers, Chief Operating Officers, Chief Administrative Officers, Chief Information Officers, Chief Medical Information Officers, Chief Medical Officers, Chief Nursing Officers, Chief Wellbeing Officers, and Chief Wellness Officers

Person with medical cross

Secondary Audience:

Healthcare Workers: Clinical care/patient-facing teams in hospital systems, including physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, residents and fellows, and patient care technicians

While the campaign focuses on patient-facing healthcare workers in hospitals, organizational changes will also benefit non-clinical healthcare workers.

Why Hospital Leaders?

Early campaign research showed that healthcare workers called for information from leaders at their hospital about available resources and services to improve staff wellbeing and mental health. Both groups also recognized that hospital leaders, not healthcare workers, must act — specifically to implement systemic changes needed to reduce burnout and enable support-seeking behaviors among staff.

Handshake superimposed over a healthcare cross

Impact Wellbeing was developed by NIOSH in collaboration with the Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation to support hospital leaders, and in turn their healthcare workforce, to improve professional wellbeing.

Developed and implemented by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the Impact Wellbeing campaign is made possible by the American Rescue Plan of 2021 and builds on momentum from the passage of the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act. 7 The Act funds efforts to prevent mental and behavioral health conditions and increase access to evidence-based treatment for healthcare workers.

1 National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine [2019]. Taking action against clinician burnout: A systems approach to professional well-being. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

2 American Hospital Association [2021]. AHA hospitals in action: Supporting care teams. Washington, DC: American Hospital Association.

3 Mental Health America [2021]. The mental health of healthcare workers in COVID-19. Alexandria, VA: Mental Health America.

4 Tiesman H, Weissman D, Stone D, Quinlan K, Chosewood LC [2021]. Suicide prevention for healthcare workers. NIOSH Science Blog, September 17.

5 U.S. Surgeon General [2022]. Addressing health worker burnout: The U.S. Surgeon General’s advisory on building a thriving health workforce. Washington, DC: Office of the Surgeon General.

6 Adams JM [2019]. The value of worker well-being. Public Health Reports 134(6):583-586.

7 Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation [n.d.]. The legislation: The Dr. Lorna Breen health care provider protection act. Charlottesville, VA: Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation.