Nonprofit Work Is Killin’ Me

Mitigating Chronic Stress and Vicarious Trauma in Social Service Organizations


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About the Book

Nonprofit community-based social services teams deliver programs and resources to communities facing the greatest symptoms of inequality in this country. We are fortunate that front-lines professionals triage high-risk situations and cultivate opportunities for generational healing. Yet their work has not been comprehensively explored in the science on workplace chronic stress and vicarious trauma (CSVT). Few know that among tested teams, 52% of individuals face work-based chronic stress and 24% experience vicarious trauma.

This book starts a conversation about nonprofit community-based social services professionals, their important work, their suffering and the need to mitigate CSVT. In order to make a change, this book contextualizes why CSVT is left primarily unmitigated and unacknowledged. The science in this book demonstrates that the very job duties that require adept and empathetic skills pull the professionals closest to the stress and trauma of those whom they serve. Social science research also directs attention to nonprofit sector culture and norms that perpetuate inequality internally, further creating an employment context of suffering. Shedding light on the factors that create unmitigated and unacknowledged CSVT allows for the implementation of both short-term and long-term solutions.

About the Author(s)

Morghan Vélez Young, Ph.D., is a Stanford trained educator and researcher, focusing on transformative opportunities for those who experience race, class, and gender oppression in the legal systems. With 20 years in nonprofit social services work, she lectures in the Department of Anthropology at California State University, Fresno, and consults through

Bibliographic Details

Morghan Vélez Young
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 190
Bibliographic Info: 9 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2023
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8000-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4753-1
Imprint: Toplight

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 7
1. Nonprofit Landscape 25
2. How Exposure Happens 45
3. Nonprofit Sector Cultural Beliefs and Norms 74
4. Tools for Individuals 96
5. Organizational Level Tools 120
6. Sector Level Tools 158
References 173
Index 181