Is this a familiar concept to you? Have you, or someone you know, gone out to help those in need only to become hurt or damaged themselves? It’s a problem that is much more common than the humanitarian world likes to admit. But how can we not become deeply affected by the everyday examples of suffering, trauma and despair that our work presents us with?
In this paper,‘Hurting the Helpers’ by James Clifton and Roger Mills of Achilles, a striking example of the personal consequences of one man’s experience of working in a complex humanitarian environment are discussed.
Are you possibly starting to experience similar symptoms? Are you responsible for the welfare of a team who may find themselves in a similar situation? This article may well help you spot the signs earlier so you can begin the work of building greater resilience, and so tackling the long-term personal impacts of the work we have dedicated our lives to.