“Compassion Fatigue is an occupational hazard of our work with animals, whether you are… a kennel attendant in a small town or an internationally recognised veterinarian. Our work requires that we compassionately and effectively respond to the constant demand to be helping those who are suffering and in need.”
Compassion Fatigue in Animal Care Workers
You began working with animals out of a genuine desire to improve the quality of their lives. But has the quality of your own life lessened as a result? Animal Care Workers often suffer from the Vicarious Trauma they endure on a daily basis, and the effects can be catastrophic. In 2010, it was revealed that veterinarians in the UK have a suicide rate four times higher than the general population, and twice as high as their human healthcare counterparts.
Veterinarians are not the only animal-workers who can suffer from the effects of caring for animals. In our experience, many Animal Workers are at risk. Volunteers can suffer from a particularly high level of stress, as they are often not in a position to implement changes or improvements at work.
Why Animal Care Workers are at risk
There are several reasons why you may be especially at risk from Compassion Fatigue:
- The Caring/Killing paradox – you have to suffer the effects of saving animals and of helping to make the decision to put them to sleep (and perhaps being the one to do it).
- If euthanasia is the only option, you may be blamed for not being able to “save” the animal.
- You have a daily exposure to suffering animals, in varying degrees of pain and distress.
- Similarly, you have a daily exposure to animal owners, who are in a state of upset at their animals’ pain and suffering.
- Evidence shows that Animal Workers have a particularly strong empathetic response to animals, because the animals are regarded as having no say over their own fate.
Are you suffering from Compassion Fatigue?
We’ve created a simple test you can take now to discover if you’re currently suffering from Compassion Fatigue. Take the test here.
What you can do
How can you lessen your risk of Compassion Fatigue? In truth, you can’t. All you can do is be aware of the risk, understand the symptoms, and have strategies in place to manage the stress when it (inevitably) arises.
Compassion Fatigue Awareness training
To find out more, contact us.
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of Animal Care workers have been diagnosed with stress, anxiety or depression
of Animal Care workers recognised the symptoms of Compassion Fatigue in themselves
of Animal Care workers felt Compassion Fatigue Awareness Training was a positive experience for themselves and their team
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Compassion Fatigue Awareness Training Courses
Talk to an EF training expert
Contact one of the team at EF training, discover more and book an appointment/training session. Call us on +44 (0)1753 623 065 or complete our online form using the link below.