In recognition of Mental Health Month and the recent Mental Health Day on 10 October, the Australian Veterinary Association is seeking to highlight the need for greater investment in mental health, both during the COVID-19 global health emergency and beyond.
“Veterinarians bring their compassionate and caring approach to working with all animals great and small,” AVA president Dr Warwick Vale said.
“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.”
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 is urging 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,” Dr Vale said.
“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.”
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.