In recognition of Mental Health Month and Mental Health Day on October 10, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) wants to highlight the need for greater investment in mental health particularly during this COVID-19 global health emergency and thereafter.
The veterinary profession has risen to the challenges of 2020, contributing to the Australian community as an essential service providing animal health and welfare services for pets, livestock and wildlife during the pandemic.
“Veterinarians bring their compassionate and caring approach to working with all animals great and small. This empathy, combined with long working hours, high workloads, the attitude of clients, and poor work-life balance, are contributing risk factors to the high prevalence of anxiety, depression, stress, burnout and suicide seen within the veterinary profession”, said Dr Warwick Vale, AVA President.
At a time when the global community is experiencing anxiety, fear, isolation, uncertainty and emotional distress as the world struggles to bring COVID-19 under control, the AVA urges governments to invest more in mental health.
“It is vital that a quality primary health care service exists for all, to deliver a whole-of-society approach to health and wellbeing. As the world grapples with the current health emergency, the AVA strongly supports the call for more investment to make mental health a reality for all. We encourage everyone to tune in to your senses, your communities and stigma – to understand what’s going on with you and those around you”, said Dr Vale.
In supporting all members of the veterinary profession, the AVA has implemented a range of VetHealth initiatives to support veterinary mental health and wellbeing. This includes access to the AVA’s confidential counselling service, an HR Advisory service, and seminars around resilience, wellness and mental health.
The AVA’s Mental Health First Aid Training program assists practice staff in identifying employees who may be experiencing mental health issues and helps them know how to offer assistance. The AVA’s Graduate Mentoring Program pairs newly-graduating veterinarians with an experienced colleague in another practice to provide support.
Mental health and wellbeing resources
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