Mental Health of Employees at a Canadian Animal Welfare Organization

In: Society & Animals
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  • 1 Department of Population Medicine, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
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Despite numerous benefits, a dark side exists in human and veterinary caregiving professions that can negatively impact caregiver mental health. It was postulated that other nonhuman animal caregivers, animal welfare employees, might experience mental health outcomes similar to those in analogous caregiving occupations. This study investigated employee mental health at a Canadian animal welfare organization using five validated mental health instruments: Perceived Stress Scale (stress), Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (anxiety and depression), Professional Quality of Life Scale (compassion satisfaction and compassion fatigue), Maslach Burnout Inventory Scale (burnout), and Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (resilience). Front-line and support staff tended to have poorer mental health outcomes relative to the study population mean, potential for burnout was a notable concern, and resilience was below normal for most employees. These results shed light on the mental health of an animal caregiving occupation that has largely been ignored. Strategies for building employee resilience are discussed.

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