Other names for Compassion Fatigue are burnout, secondary traumatic stress (STS), secondary victimization, vicarious traumatization, and secondary survivor. It has also been described as the ‘Cost of Caring’.
Studies are beginning to suggest that animal care professionals may be number one in vulnerability to Compassion Fatigue and Burnout.
What causes Compassion Fatigue? Here are a few items to focus on today.
- Constant exposure to trauma
- Dealing with the public
- Facing it alone
What can you do to help yourself or someone else?
- Talk to someone
To the listener, here are a few things you can do to help.
Don’t ask them if they’re okay if you don’t care. If you ask someone suffering if they’re okay, they’re probably going to spill a lot of frustration and emotion on you depending on what they’re going through. The last thing you need to do is ask if you can help with no intentions of helping.
If they do begin to talk, LISTEN. Don’t interrupt, don’t share your unrelated stories, don’t tune out, and don’t make jokes to lightening the mood. If they’re asking you to listen, that’s just what they need you to do.
- You’re trying your best with what you have.
- All those animals you were able to save up until now.
- All those animals will you save in the future.
Lastly, snuggle an animal. It doesn’t even matter what kind. They can all sooth the pain. My rescue friends know what I mean.
Join me next time as we dive deeper into Compassion Fatigue.
If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, please speak up. Know that you’re not alone.
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255