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Compassion Fatigue Relief in Kenya

Compassion Fatigue happens when caring costs. People who work in the caring professions or are caregivers are vulnerable to Compassion Fatigue. Vets and animal are at a high risk due to constant exposure to trauma on a daily basis, from seeing cases of animal cruelty to making critical life and death decisions.

Why This Matters

According to US figures, people working with animals are twice as likely to experience psychological stress compared to the general populace. The very nature of vets work and animal rescuers can cause emotionally depletion and symptoms of burnout. Dr Charles Figley, a pioneer in the field of Compassion Fatigue, found that vets can experience secondary traumatic stress due to the nature of their work.

Compassion Fatigue can be reversed if practitioners spend time on their own self-care. There is a social media tag #notonemorevet because of the high stress factors of vets work that make them vulnerable to suicide.

In Kenya we are working with a small group of vets and animal rescuers, carrying out a 5-week pilot. The project is educating participants on Compassion Fatigue, the signs and symptoms and the ways that they can remedy the consequences of compassion fatigue, as it is reversible. Positive actions include focusing upon self -care, increasing self-compassion and practising mindfulness activities. The group is also experiencing weekly coaching to support them to achieve their self- care goals and raise awareness about their lifestyle and obstacles that can prevent them from practising self -care. There is also a Counsellor on the team in case further intervention is required. We are tracking their progress to assess the impact of the programme using the ProQOL and The Skovholt Practitioner Professional Resiliency Self-Care Inventory.

Meet Our Support Team

VETERINARY SURGEON, Sercombe Veterinary Surgeons, Karen, Nairobi, Kenya (1997 – Present)




  • KENYA SMALL AND COMPANION ANIMAL VETERINARY ASSOCIATION – Hon. Secretary 2015 – 2019; Chairman 2019 – present.
  • KENYA VETERINARY BOARD — Vice-chair of the CPD sub-committee 2009 -2013
  • KENYA VETERINARY BOARD — Member (2020) – Ad hoc committee for developing Veterinary Telemedicine guidelines
  • World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) — Co — Chair Professional Wellness Group
  • AFSCAN Country Ambassador for Kenya
  • WSAVA Continuing Education Coordinator for Southern Africa

Michelle Arscott

Michelle Arscott, is the lead facilitator and coach of the Compassion Fatigue Kenya pilot project.

She has a background in Psychology and is an ICF accredited Life Coach, a mindfulness teacher. She is also a trained Compassion Fatigue professional, has a diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and is a Psychological First Aider.

Michelle is passionate about mental wellness and was awarded the 2020 Gold Stevie award for Coach of The Year in wellness. She frequently appears in the Media promoting mental healthiness and also writes articles on this topic.

Michelle is also a dog lover and loves rescuing rescue dogs, one day she would love to live on a farm and home old rescue dogs!

Joyce Wangari Ngugi

Wangari has 14 years’ experience in designing and implementing Psychology and Research programs. Her niche is empowering people with disabilities/special needs and other caregivers, particularly the Deaf. She is a founder member of Africa Hai, where she uses Creative Arts Therapies to co-produce knowledge in local communities and to restore African indigenous healing knowledge ways.

She earned a global award at the American Psychological Association 2018 Convention on research titled: Barriers to Mental Health Access for Deaf Adults in Kenya: A Review.

She is a candidate for Doctor of Psychology, PsyD, Clinical Psychology, at United States International University-Africa(USIU-Africa), where she is also a Doctoral Teaching and Research Assistant.
She was a founder at the USIU-Africa Disability Policy and the Sign Language Club.

Gladys Ouma

Gladys is a versatile people-oriented professional with over twenty years’ experience as a team leader in the humanitarian sector. She is a Certified Coach, accredited by the International Coaching Federation and a certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner. She has certification in Mental Health and in Guidance and counselling. Gladys mentors high school girls, young professionals in career development and leadership and people going through personal trauma. She is a firm believer in personal authenticity and trains in personal branding and etiquette.

Britta Wulfekammer

Britta has been passionate about animals big and small since she was a small child. Growing up in rural Germany, her dad ran a farmers input and pet supply business. Browsing around farm animals was her daily dose of fun. From the age of 4 onwards she has owned – and rescued – a variety of animals such as frogs, reptiles turtles, birds, rabbits, dogs, horses and many many cats. Not always to her mothers amusement.
Since her move to Nairobi, she has voluntarily rescued, fostered and taken care of numerous stray kittens, many of them traumatized and severely ill. Working closely with vets in and outside of Nairobi has been essential for their recovery and well-being.

Reshma Khan

Reshma Aziz Khan is a Kenyan of Indian origin who was born and grew up in Nairobi, which is also known as the Green City in the Sun for all the nature that surrounds it, including the world’s only wild national park that has lions too! Reshma grew up in a safari family that always had visitors from all over the world, and she learnt to also love nature. Reshma lost both her parents when very young, and at 25 years old she was an orphan, having to take care of her younger sister and head the house.

In her personal life, Reshma is a dancer who likes to bring different cultures together, to really show what unity in diversity can look like.

Reshma recently transitioned from full-time employment to set up her own leadership coaching and consultancy company K’enso Consulting, and hopes to work with social impact leaders globally to work towards a more just world where it doesn’t matter what colour, religion or gender anyone is.


Argwings Koyoson

Argwings Koyoson is an Executive Coach and seniorprofessional Risk & Compliance Practitioner with in-depth experience in Risk Management in both the public and private sectors, spanning over a period of 24 years across Africa.

He provides a broad range of services to help organisations solve organisational risk management frameworks, change management issues; create value, maximise growth and improve overall strategic orientation of business performance.

Argwings is passionate about coaching and mentoring executive leadership and inspiring them to unlock their full potential.

Suicides among veterinarians become a growing problem

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News & Updates

20 warning signs of compassion fatigue

First responders experiencing secondary traumatic stress due to nature of work

Compassion Fatigue among Healthcare, Emergency and Community Service Workers: A Systematic Review

Are You Suffering from Compassion Fatigue?

What to do when showing compassion feels like a burden

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