Select Page

Compassion Fatigue

Compassion Fatigue is a condition common among individuals who work directly with trauma victims such as nurses, psychologists, and first responders, as well as people who work in animal rescue. Symptoms may include hopelessness, a decrease in experiences of pleasure, constant stress and anxiety, sleeplessness or nightmares, and a pervasive negative attitude.

Many people who rescue animals, work in animal shelters, and are otherwise involved in animal welfare and animal rights are exhausted and suffering from compassion fatigue.  They are not able to talk about their grief and exhaustion openly with either their animal rescue co-workers or their other friends and family, and are looking for a safe place in which to share their feelings so that they do not burn out.

We also know from our own work as animal advocates and rescuers that this problem is endemic in the wider animal rescue and advocacy community and while there are plenty of resources out there for those suffering from compassion fatigue, too few people either know about them or avail themselves of them.

Following are some other resources that may be of value to you:

HSU Compassion Fatigue Workshops:
http://humanesocietyuniversity.org/academics/sce/workshops/compassionfatigue.aspx
http://humanesocietyuniversity.org/academics/cas/humaneleadership/courses/hl312.aspx
http://www.humanesocietyuniversity.org/files/cf-shelter-hosting-information.pdf

American Humane Compassion Fatigue Workshops

In Defense of Animals offers some tools for activists who are struggling with burnout and alienation:

Animal activist helpline
Council on Sustainable Activism

Veterinary Support Personnel Network Compassion Fatigue Workshops:
http://www.vspn.org/
http://www.vin.com/ce/
http://www.vin.com/ce/STAF163-0813.htm

A Good Article on the Subject in Animal Sheltering Magazine

Kerulos Institute Study, by Gay Bradshaw

Kerulos Institute Slideshow, by Gay Bradshaw 

Share