Noted on today’s AFPS news, worth repeating. Applicable to chaplains and other caregivers as well as to family members. MP+
Chaplain Urges Military Spouses to Avoid ‘Compassion Fatigue’
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2010 – With almost all the 101st Airborne Division deployed to Afghanistan, military spouses here have their hands full taking care of each other.

Army Maj. Stanley Arnold, family life chaplain at Fort Campbell, Ky., is working with Karin Jenkins, wife of 101st Airborne Division 4th Brigade Combat team commander Col. Sean Jenkins, center, and Rebecca Santos, wife of Command Sgt. Maj. Hector Santos, the brigade sergeant major, to identify and address compassion fatigue among spouse volunteers. DOD photo by Donna Miles

Day in and day out, they’re called on to help a suddenly single parent juggle work, kids and household chores, and set aside time to visit with the lonely wife who needs a friend. Too often, they find themselves consoling a widow who has just learned of her husband’s death as they quietly wonder if they’ll be the next to receive that dreaded knock on the door.

Army Maj. Stanley Arnold, a family life chaplain here, praised the outpouring of family support that’s become a hallmark of the 101st Airborne Division’s “Screaming Eagles” and nearly every other military organization.

But he’s also concerned he’s seeing signs of “compassion fatigue” — with spouses already laden with their own responsibilities and burdens giving so much of themselves that there’s sometimes little left to draw on.

Arnold met last week with spouses of the division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team leaders, encouraging them to recognize signs of compassion fatigue in themselves and each other, and emphasizing the need to take time out to recharge their emotional batteries.

Read the whole article here.