Individuals in the helping professions deserve a big round of applause for all of the good that they do. But what do they do when they’re the ones who need the help, even more than the persons they are helping? What then?

The following is part of a self-test to help gauge whether you might be suffering from compassion fatigue or burnout. However, it is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis. Consult a physician or mental health professional to discuss the results.

(Write in the number of the best response to each of the following questions using one of the following answers: 1 – rarely or never; 2 – at times; 3 – not sure; 4 – often; 5 – very often.)

  1. I force myself to avoid certain thoughts or feelings that remind me of a frightening experience.
  2. I avoid certain activities or situations because they remind me of a frightening experience.
  3. I have gaps in my memory about frightening events.
  4. I feel isolated from others.
  5. I have difficulty falling or staying asleep.
  6. I have outbursts of anger or irritability with little provocation.
  7. I startle easily.
  8. While working with a victim I thought about violence against the person(s) who victimized.
  9. I am a sensitive person.
  10. I’ve had flashbacks connected to clients and families.

For the remainder of this 40-question quiz, and scoring instructions, see the May Employee Assistance Report newsletter. For a complimentary copy, email To subscribe, visit

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more at