n South African Journal of Psychology - Group drumming as a burnout prevention initiative among staff members at a child and adolescent mental health care facility

Volume 45, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0081-2463
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Work-related stress and burnout is pervasive within the public mental health sector in South Africa. This study aimed to identify the subjective experiences of staff members at a child and adolescent mental health unit, who participated in a drumming group aimed at reducing burnout, and to establish from participants' experiences whether group drumming had potential as a burnout reduction intervention. This retrospective study was conducted using a semi-structured questionnaire and followed an interpretive approach. The study population consisted of all the team members who participated in the staff drumming group (30 staff members). Qualitative methods of data collection were employed. Data were analysed by means of thematic analysis. Responses from participants ( = 17) indicated that taking part in the drumming group encouraged emotional expression, represented a distraction from vicarious trauma, helped to level hierarchical structures, increased energy and productivity, induced relaxation, improved mood states, created feelings of accomplishment, and fostered a sense of belonging. A discussion of these findings in relation to the challenges within the public mental health sector in the Western Cape is also included. Based on the findings, the authors support previous studies, and conclude that drumming and recreational music-making groups may represent a potentially powerful and cost-effective burnout reduction strategy, particularly within the context of public mental health in South Africa. Due to the qualitative methods utilised in this study, further quantitative studies are recommended.

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