KANSAS CITY, MO. – Compassion fatigue often is associated with the health care profession, but people who make their living in agriculture can be affected too.
Compassion fatigue is a set of symptoms born out of absorbing the trauma and emotional distress of others. It is thought of more in the context of caring for sick people or individuals who have experienced trauma. But compassion fatigue can be experienced by those who are helping people or animals.
Monica Kramer McConkey knows all too well the impact of chronic emotional stress on farming families and communities through 25 years of experience in behavioral health as a counselor, program supervisor and administrator. Currently, she is a rural mental health specialist in Minnesota contracted by the Minnesota Ag Centers of Excellence and Farm Bureau Business Management. She speaks about the impact of mental health challenges on farming families and communities through her consultancy, Eyes on the Horizon Consulting LLC.
Compassion fatigue, McConkey said, “…is something that we are seeing more and more of as our farmers and ranchers become stressed and are chronically stressed. That impact really trickles down in agriculture to those that are working with our farmers and who have relationships helping our farmers.”
At the NAMI 2020 Animal Welfare and Handling Conference, McConkey shared her insights into compassion fatigue and – if you’re experiencing it – coping strategies to help deal with it.