Every day we see the most heartbreaking stories about rescued animals and the horrible conditions they go through and how they sometimes don’t survive despite the efforts of rescuers. Now imagine how heartbroken the people who try to rescue these animals get when they are faced with such cases.
In September 2014, 48 year old veterinary behaviorist and best-selling author Dr. Sophia Yin committed suicide. She had contributed hugely to the animal rescue community by writing books and creating instructional videos on dog training. Her suicide came as a shock to everyone who knew her. However, according to people who were close to her, Dr. Yin most likely was suffering from a psychological disorder known as “compassion fatigue,” which is in medical terms defined as emotional exhaustion caused by the stress of caring for traumatized or suffering animals or people. It is also known as Secondary Traumatic Stress disorder and is much similar to Post Traumatic stress disorder.
The sad fact is lots of people who work in animal care are actually suffering from this disorder. A recent mental health survey for animal care workers showed that one of six have thought about suicide. Another study shows that animal care workers have a suicide rate of 5.3 in 1 million workers in the US, which is a very high number. It’s also not easy at all for these workers to take time to focus on their own psychological well-being due to the fact that lots of them are actually volunteers who have other jobs to maintain besides animal rescue.
Animal rescue workers are truly amazing human beings; we cannot imagine how our world will be without them and all the extra weight they take on their shoulders. If you know any animal rescue volunteer or are one, it’s important to know that in the real world no one can save everyone, so we just have to keep focusing on the positive things.
Share this with your family and friends to raise awareness about animal rescue workers and what they go through.