Has the World Been Too Much for You Lately? Psychologists Have a Name for This

Updated 09/22/17
Original Illustration by Stephanie DeAngelis

If the string of natural disasters that have occurred over the last few weeks have left you feeling emotionally drained, you're not alone. With hurricanes in Texas, Florida, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico, and earthquakes in Mexico, New Zealand, and Japan in such a short time span, many of us are feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to help.

Fortunately, Gordon C. Nagayama Hall, Ph.D. over at Psychology Today has a name for what we're all experiencing: compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue is essentially the emotional exhaustion you feel when learning about the continuous suffering of others. It has a way of making you feel helpless, overwhelmed, and frustrated by your perceived lack of ability to make a positive impact.

When you experience compassion fatigue, the brain shuts down due to too much emotional stimulation and too few ways to feel useful. If you've been feeling overwhelmed by a sense of helplessness in the wake of the unprecedented disasters that have ravaged countries across the globe in a matter of weeks, here's how you can help.

To help those affected in Mexico, the Caribbean and the U.S., you can donate to the following organizations.

ConPRmetidos: Donate to the victims of Hurricane Maria and Irma in Puerto Rico online.

Posada Family Foundation: Help families and kids devastated by Hurricane Maria by donating online to the Puerto Rico Hurrican Relief Fund.

Direct Relief: Make a donation online to support relief efforts in Mexico after the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that most recently affected the country. 

The Salvation Army: Donate online or by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY to both Harvey and Irma victims.

The American Red Cross: Donate to the national organization online; you can provide relief to Hurricane Harvey victims, Irma victims, or to general disaster relief. Find a blood donation site near you here.

UNICEF: The worldwide organization is helping kids affected by both Harvey and Irma get back on their feet. 

Habitat for Humanity: Help repair the homes affected by both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma here.

GoFundMe: Browse the crowdfunding campaigns erected for both Harvey and Irma victims. 

The Humane Society: Help the teams in both Texas and Florida rescue, transport, and care for the animals affected by the disaster by donating here.

AABB: To help coordinate a group to help with blood collection efforts or donate blood yourself, call 301-907-6977.

How are you helping the victims of natural disasters? Share your resources below.

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