The literature on work stress, burnout and coping is reviewed and a small scale empirical study reported which sought to explore the nature of burnout in staff of supported housing for people with long-term mental health problems. Burnout was seen to arise principally as a result of job strain in relation to caring for people. As in depression, the process was hypothesized to be mediated by environmental and individual resources (including social support, coping and attributional styles, and life events). High levels of workplace stress correlated with the depersonalization component of burnout and with absence from work. Environmental and individual factors appeared to significantly mediate the effect of work stress. Social support at work (particularly practical support) was linked to all burnout measures at follow-up. Specific, unstable attributions of negative work events and practically driven coping styles were found to be most adaptive in terms of experiencing less burnout. Individuals who experienced more negative life events were more likely to become emotionally exhausted. No correlation was found between burnout and depression, suggesting the processes are distinct. Unlike depression, burnout is specific to the work setting.