Compassion fatigue a killer
VETERINARIANS are nearly four times more likely to commit suicide, prompting a study by Murdoch University to find out why and factors that can protect them.
Compassion fatigue is potentially life-threatening and care-giving professionals like vets, doctors, nurses and even dentists are at risk.
Doctors and nurses are twice as likely to take their own lives than the general public.
Murdoch University provisional psychologist and PhD candidate Karen Connell is asking vets to complete an anonymous survey to help her better understand their mental wellbeing and their client and colleague relationships.
She encouraged all vets, including those who feel they are coping well, to participate.
Cockburn wildlife rescue service NativeARC runs three free workshops a year for hundreds of its volunteers and others working or volunteering in caring professions.
NativeARC manager Dean Huxley said he started the Self Care for Animal Care Givers workshops three years ago, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Booragoon.
“For us, being a not-forprofit we take on a lot of volunteers,” Mr Huxley said.
“If we don’t look after the volunteers, we can’t look after the animals.”
After a decade in the industry he felt there was a lack of training in the field and worked with vets and counsellors to devise the workshops.
Mr Huxley encouraged people working in animal care to attend a forum before they started to develop burnout.
“For anyone in a care-giving profession, there is not one thing that will work for everyone, so people must do their research.”
Murdoch Uni’s College of Veterinary Medicine principal Peter Irwin said the curriculum included positive psychology and mindfulness, resilience, and the management of risks to health and wellbeing.
Prof Irwin also said a key goal of the international VetSet2Go project, which Murdoch’s vet school is leading, includes the promotion of wellbeing and resilience among new vets.
The survey is at practitionermentalhealth.com.
Visit www.trybooking. com/OHMB for forum details.
Anyone in crisis should speak to their GP or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
NativeARC manager Dean Huxley at the centre. d468330