World Health Organization recognises “burnout” as a medical condition

Has your job left you feeling mentally exhausted and emotionally drained? Well, you’re not alone, with burnout now being recognised as a chronic condition. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has added “burnout” to its International Classification of Diseases (ICD), with the condition being globally recognised as a disease from 2020.

WHO defines burnout as “a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterised by three dimensions: 1.) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 2.) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and 3.) reduced professional efficacy." 

Burnout is a very real issue for therapists which can affect their treatment delivery, which is why keeping your staff mentally healthy has never been more important. 

WHO added: “Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.” 

This is the first time burnout has been recognised in WHO’s handbook for medical conditions and the decision was made yesterday (Monday, May 27) during the World Health Assembly in Geneva. The development comes a year after global health experts recommended burnout be added to the catalogue. 

Follow our six rules to help you find a healthy work-life balance