The Problem

Burnout, STS, and related conditions represent a major public health problem for the anti-violence workforce. An estimated 1.8 million anti-violence professionals are currently struggling with their mental health and not receiving the help and support they need.

What is Burnout?

Burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic work-related stress. While is characteristically described by symptoms of emotional exhaustion, cynicism, and depersonalization; recent research suggests that burnout may in fact be a subtype of stress-induced major depression. Burnout is a serious on its own, but it is also associated with an increased risk for a number of health issues, including: heart disease, diabetes, substance misuse, insomnia, and suicide.

What is Secondary Traumatic Stress?

Like burnout, secondary traumatic stress (or STS), is an occupational hazard of high-stress work environments. Unlike burnout, however, STS is similar to PTSD and is unique to helping professions who frequently work with trauma victims. Emerging research suggests that trauma may spread like a contagious disease, transmitted from person-to-person through frequent contact with others’ trauma.

WhyAnti-Violence Professionals?

While all helping professions are impacted by caregiver burnout and STS, anti-violence professionals are at a much higher risk. This is because violent trauma (abuse, suicide, oppression) impacts people differently. Most importantly, burnout, PTSD, and STS in the anti-violence field presents a major public health problem for all of us. When those tasked with protecting the public’s health and safety are unwell, disengaged, and leaving the field, our entire community suffers.

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