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.


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
In denial about problems