Mental wellbeing this new year

14 Jan 2019

Veterinarians are profoundly passionate about animal health and welfare and embark on their careers with this unwavering driver. These highly skilled professionals have a privileged position in the community as the first-line of response for managing the health and medical treatment of animals.

Being part of one of the most respected professions also comes with the pressures of a profession where veterinarians are not just the animal’s general practitioner, but also their surgeon, dermatologist, radiologist and dentist.

Like many other professions, veterinarians are faced with the pressures of their work together with the existing perceived barriers of being unable to openly discuss mental wellbeing, which affects the mental wellbeing felt by some of our colleagues in the profession.    

63% of Australian veterinarians are experiencing psychological distress, which makes it more than likely that as many as 3 in 5 are in need of support.1

In the same way veterinarians care deeply towards their animal patients, they should also have a commitment to their own mental wellbeing and those of their colleagues, so they can continue to carry out our crucial work in the community to the highest standard.

At the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), we believe that transparent and regular conversations about mental wellbeing in our profession are important, in addition to ensuring that practical support is readily available for veterinarians who are finding it difficult to manage the pressures of the profession.

Our members are always our priority, and we ensure that help is always available for them, including providing a 24/7 AVA counselling service which provides free and confidential support from qualified counsellors for member veterinarians and their immediate families.

All veterinary professionals should continue to actively make a commitment to the mental wellbeing of themselves and colleagues, to not only assist themselves, but those around them to collectively support the mental wellbeing of our profession.

The AVA has developed a Mental Health First Aid program which regularly features in continuing professional development that meets the specific needs of the profession, delivering valuable mental health education to help veterinary professionals identify and respond to colleagues in need of support.

The professional collegiality shared by our members adds another degree of support available for veterinarians, and the extensive support network of like-minded colleagues sharing similar experiences can have a profoundly positive impact.  

As we start the new year, the AVA encourages that all veterinary professionals speak openly with their colleagues about mental wellbeing, where possible reach out to the AVA Counselling Service and take part in our Mental Health First Aid program.

More information

24/7 AVA Counselling Service: 1800 337 068

Mental Health First Aid courses.


Reference

  1. Hatch PH, Winefield HR, Christie BA, Lievaart JJ. Workplace stress, mental health, and burnout of veterinarians in Australia. Aust Vet J 2011;89,460–468.

More Articles

VIC

Agriculture Victoria Rain/Flood event...

01 Dec 2017
Helpful tips for pet owners and farmers preparing for heavy rain and flooding...
Agriculture Victoria Rain/Flood event...

Education Research & Academia

Don’t worry, being happy can help the...

02 Nov 2017
Studies have shown that a positive mindset has a positive immune response...
Don’t worry, being happy can help the...

Equine

Hairy caterpillars harm horses

23 Mar 2018
We know from the multitude of animal diseases out there that size is no barrier...
Hairy caterpillars harm horses

Small Animal

Dogs make faces to make us love them

05 Dec 2017
It is becoming apparent that animals have more control over their facial...
Dogs make faces to make us love them