The Reason Veterinarians and Rescue Workers Have the Highest Suicide Rates

In the Latino community, dogs are a big part of our life. Many of us have 1 or even 2 furry friends, which we love like they were our own children. We spoil them and even invite them to the kitchen when we are eating and to sleep with us at night. We have a difficult time when our dogs pass away because they were part of our family for many years. As you could imagine, the job of veterinarians and rescue workers is no easy task and their overwhelming dedication to animals can sometimes cause compassion fatigue.

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About a year ago, Dr. Sophia Yin, a renowned veterinary behaviorist and best-selling author died of suicide. Experts weighed in on the reason she took her life and came to the conclusion that her overwhelming dedication to animals caused compassion fatigue, which at the end made her to commit suicide.

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Compassion fatigue is known as a secondary traumatic stress disorder (STSD), which is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can lead to depression and thoughts of suicide. According to the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project, compassion fatigue symptoms include:

  • Bottled up emotions
  • Isolation from others
  • Receives unusual amount of complaints from others
  • Voices excessive complaints about administrative functions
  • Substance abuse used to mask feelings
  • Compulsive behaviors such as overspending, overeating, gambling, sexual addictions
  • Poor self-care (i.e., hygiene, appearance)
  • Legal problems, indebtedness
  • Reoccurrence of nightmares and flashbacks to traumatic event
  • Chronic physical ailments such as gastrointestinal problems and recurrent colds
  • Apathy, sad, no longer finds activities pleasurable
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mentally and physically tired
  • Preoccupied
  • In denial about problems