Ask an expert

15 Feb 2006

emotional attachment and volunteering
I intend helping out on a weekly basis at a home for abandoned (mostly HIV-infected) babies this yr......but I am worried what the effect of frequent deaths will be on my wellbeing.

Yes I know this is a selfish worry and that the main thing is making the little ones' short lives as pleasant and loving as possible, which is my main motivation for doing it. But there is no doubt in my mind that every time a life is lost it will hit one hard.....very hard.

Ways to overcome this pain? Or will infected babies live longer than I think?
Answer 747 views

01 Jan 0001

VEry sensible to recognize this very real risk, slr. Pesonally ( and for years I was much involved in building and forming such programs ) I believe that NO program ought to operate without providing some training sessions for volunteers to enable you to understand and cope with such job stresses, and they should also have available some counselling, group and/or individual, as an on-the-job support system, both to help volunteers and to help prevent burnout in regular staff.
it is NOT a selfish worry. All helpers need to take care of themselves, to keep themselves fit to help others.
What one concentrates on, is your ability to make a difference in their lives, however small the diference may sometimes be --- one needs realistic goals, so you don't blame yourself for not having God-like powers to always save lives.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.