Compassion fatigue: how much is too much bad news?

To prevent burnout, Dr Williams said it’s healthy for individuals to be emotionally withdrawn from time to time.

“If an individual came about managing their own compassion fatigue by withdrawing from the media, that’s probably not such a bad thing… a break from it could provide perspective.”


But if we’re all going through compassion fatigue, she said, that’s a different story.

How to avoid compassion fatigue

  • Support network. Have a strong and supportive network around you that you can debrief with, says social work lecturer Amanda Lambros from Curtin University.
  • Take a break. Journalism researcher Julie Posetti recommends tuning out from news media from time to time. “Tuning out for periods is becoming increasingly necessary – both to avoid vicarious trauma, and to prevent compassion fatigue,” she said.
  • But don’t withdraw entirely….