The Australian Veterinary Association is calling on both major parties ahead of the Federal Election to commit to investing $3m over five years to save the lives and wellbeing of Australian veterinarians.
Recent independent research has shown that veterinarians deal with personal mental health issues at a higher rate that the general population. Over half of veterinary respondents said they have or are experiencing a mental health condition. More specifically, 41.6 per cent of respondents to the survey indicated that they had experienced a mental health condition in the past 12 months.
The AVA commissioned the independent research by workplace mental health consultants, Superfriend, to investigate mental health among those in the profession, with findings that demonstrate that significant investment is needed in the sector.
“The veterinary profession is an extremely rewarding profession, but we’re so busy looking after the community’s animals that we don’t have time to look after ourselves,” AVA president Dr Warwick Vale said.
“This research backs up what veterinarians already know—our profession is not in good health and in order for us to serve the community we need a healthy thriving profession.
“I’ve been to too many funerals of colleagues, I’ve seen too many colleagues drop out of the profession, and I’ve seen too many colleagues break under the strain.
“The AVA is investing in solving this crisis, but we can’t do it on our own—we need the next Federal Government to stand shoulder to shoulder with us and lend a supporting hand to our country’s veterinarians.”
Key elements that the investment in veterinary mental health would support include:
- A public campaign to educate the community
- Whole of career mentoring
- Dedicated veterinary counselling services
- Development and delivery of veterinary specific wellbeing education material
The full AVA Election Platform can be found here.