Although burnout has been discussed and written about since the ’60s, it hasn’t been officially recognized by the health community. That has changed, sort of.
The World Health Organization (WFO) now officially recognizes burnout as an occupational phenomenon. however, they make it clear they are not classifying it as an illness or health condition. So it can be a contributor to a health condition, but it is not a health condition itself.
They describe burnout as:
“Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
- Reduced professional efficacy.
Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.”https://www.who.int/mental_health/evidence/burn-out/en/
This decision could be a big step towards shining a light on the impact worklife can have on a person’s health. Hopefully, more people will become aware of the consequences of burnout and new prevention techniques will surface for the employee and employer.