The World Small Animal Veterinary Association is urging companion animal veterinarians globally to complete a multi-lingual online questionnaire from its newly formed Professional Wellness Group (PWG).
Data from the survey will help the PWG to establish a benchmark for veterinary wellness in different regions of the world and inform its work to create tools and resources to support the health and wellbeing of all veterinary professionals.
There is increased recognition that stress and a demanding workplace environment are adversely affecting the mental wellbeing and physical health of many veterinarians.
One study estimates that the incidence of suicide in the veterinary profession in countries such as the USA, UK, Australia and Norway is double that of other healthcare professionals and four times that of the general population.
The WSAVA PWG has embarked on a three-year project to review state-of-the art thinking on this issue and aims to provide a uniquely global perspective that recognises the regional, economic and cultural aspects that may affect the prevalence and impact of veterinary wellness in all parts of the world.
As a first step, it is conducting a survey of veterinary wellness globally using an online questionnaire. Based on the survey’s findings, it will collate and disseminate the most effective tools already available to support veterinary wellness and will then develop new resources, including guidelines and toolkits, to address any shortfalls. It is also developing a WSAVA mentoring scheme.
The PWG is led by Dr Nienke Endenburg, a human psychologist working at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at Utrecht University, and Dr Derick Chibeu, a veterinarian working in Kenya.
“Veterinarians care for animals and owners but who takes care of them?” Dr Endenburg said.
“We’re working to explore the extent to which professional wellness is an issue in all parts of the world and to increase our understanding of global attitudes towards it in order to provide appropriate solutions.”