Compassion fatigue is stress resulting from exposure to a traumatized individual. It is the convergent of secondary traumatic stress and cumulative burnout. Compassion fatigue is the physical and mental exhaustion caused by a depleted ability to cope with one’s everyday environment.
Our community is full of people that experience secondary trauma and are at risk of compassion fatigue.
The foster parent who cares for the child that has traumatic nightmares and rocks the child back to sleep night after night. The grandparents who parent their grandchild and mourn the loss of their grandparent role and their desire to retire. The neighbor who cooks a double portion because the children next door are hungry and it breaks their heart. The social workers who go to pick up a child after they were removed from their family and search for a temporary home for the tenth time this month.
There are so many helpers in our community.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” - Matthew 11:28
Your neighbor, coworker or friend could be in the midst of compassion fatigue, and they need encouragement to stay the course. God didn’t design us to live in a state of compassion fatigue. How can you be an instrument for God and help them find rest?
Written by Andi Harrison, regional director for Buckner Foster Care & Adoption. She has experienced compassion fatigue at different times over the course of her 22-year career and is so appreciative of the people that helped her find rest.