Friday, December 11, 2009

Compassion fatigue

I have been thinking about the idea of compassion fatigue. In the the original sense of the term it is a stress disorder that refers to a gradual lessening of compassion over time. It is often associated with victims of trauma and those working or caring for victims of trauma over a long period of time such as a health care professional working in palliative care or a primary care giver for a person with disability. In the broader sense compassion fatigue is also used to describe a resistance to charitable giving and responding to large social issues. The media is often blamed for flooding us with images and stories of all that is wrong with the world. It is argued that it leads people to feeling helpless, apathetic, cynical and developing a negative attitude.
My questions then are, does compassion fatigue exist when it comes to the big issues? Is the media responsible and what are the other causes? Is compassion fatigue the reason that people will comment on someones facebook status if it is about what they had for breakfast, but not when they post something about climate change or poverty? How do you overcome compassion fatigue, as an individual and a society?

What are you thoughts?

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