The health, welfare and wellness of veterinarians has been front and centre with SBS Television’s Insight program recently featuring discussion about veterinary mental health and the issues contributing to the sobering statistic that veterinarians are almost four times more likely to take their own lives than the general public.

The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) conducted a global survey of veterinary mental health and welfare which highlighted that stress and diminished wellbeing are a significant problem in the veterinary profession worldwide. The survey results found that the wellbeing of younger, and female members of the profession is most at risk, with older veterinarians generally more satisfied with their careers.

The WSAVA has established a Professional Wellness Group, with online resources available to veterinarians including guidance on addressing burnout in the profession, and how to initiate conversations about wellbeing within the vet hospital. With the current global COVID-19 pandemic adding a further layer of uncertainty and stress to veterinary professionals, the WSAVA has also released a helpful succinct guide about stress management for veterinarians during the pandemic.

Globally there are currently several other mental health resources available for veterinarians. The Australian Veterinary Association has developed their VetHealth online resource for members, and there are similar resources available in the United Kingdom, with the Mind Matters Initiative and in the USA with wellness resources from the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Psychologist Dr Nienke Endenburg, co-chair of the WSAVA’s Professional Wellness Group Committee, has been involved in analysing the global survey results. “The results of our research provide a unique global view of this important issue and we look forward to discussing these with our expert colleagues and exploring practical solutions that respect the regional, economic and cultural differences of our membership. It will be an important first step toward bringing about positive change and enhancing the wellbeing of veterinarians globally”, said Dr Endenburg. Read more >