Resources

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Resources for Vets

vet

Veterinarians may face a number of challenges in providing care for their patients and veterinary students may face their own set of challenges in addition to some of those faced by graduate veterinarians.

The DHAS service is available to all veterinarians and veterinary students in New South Wales and provides confidential, personal advice to callers. If you are experiencing personal difficulties as a veterinarian or veterinary student or if you are concerned about a colleague, please call (02) 9437 6552 (24 hours).

The Veterinary Practitioners Board (Board) is aware of research regarding the incidence of stress and depression in the veterinary profession and research suggesting the incidence of suicide among veterinarians in Australia is likely to be much greater than that of the general population.1,2,3,4,6,7

Veterinarians are exposed to risk factors found in the general population, including conflict and personal relationship problems, risks similar to other health professionals, and may be exposed to more specific risks including:

  1. Stressors associated with the performance of their professional duties
  2. Ready access to prescription drugs
  3. Temptation to self-medicate
  4. Poor remuneration and long hours

The Board also appreciates that stressors associated with the performance of the professional duties of a veterinarian may also be increased during a complaint investigation process.2 The Board has developed a Health Program for Veterinarians based on the Doctors’ Health Program and utilising associated resources developed by the Medical Council of NSW5 to assist veterinarians whose mental health and well-being is affected by these stressors.

Help is also available from the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) to members and the veterinarians who work for members through its counselling service on 1300 687 327. If you are experiencing difficulties in your workplace the AVA also has an HR hotline for members 1300 788 977.

The Fair Work Ombudsman may also provide advice for veterinarians experiencing difficulties at work or for those with concerns regarding remuneration and employment conditions.

If you are experiencing difficulties dealing with the many challenges faced by veterinarians and veterinary students you are not alone.
Please talk to someone.

 

References

  1. Bartram DJ, Baldwin DS 2010, ‘Veterinary surgeons and suicide: a structured review of possible influences on increased risk’, Veterinary Record, vol. 166, pp. 388-97.
  2. Bartram DJ, Sinclair MA, Baldwin DS 2010, ‘Interventions with potential to improve the mental health and wellbeing of UK veterinary surgeons’, Veterinary Record, vol. 166, pp. 518-23.
  3. Bartram DJ, Yadegarfar G, Baldwin DS 2009, ‘A cross-sectional study of mental health and well-being and their associations in the UK veterinary profession’, Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology, vol. 44, pp. 1078-85.
  4. Jones-Fairnie H, Perroni P, Silburn S, Lawrence D 2008, ‘Suicide in Australian Veterinarians’, Australian Veterinary Journal, vol. 86, no. 4, pp. 114-6.
  5. Medical Council of NSW 2018, Health Program Participant’s Handbook. Available: https://www.mcnsw.org.au/sites/default/files/health_program_handbook_updated_may_2018.pdf Accessed 24 Aug 2020.
  6. Platt B, Hawton K, Simkin S, Mellanby RJ 2010, ‘Systematic review of the prevalence of suicide in veterinary surgeons’, Occupational Medicine, vol. 60, pp. 436-46.
  7. Milner AJ, Niven H, Page K, LaMontagne AD 2015, ‘Suicide in veterinarians and veterinary nurses in Australia: 2001-2012’, Australian Veterinary Journal, vol. 93, no. 9, pp. 308-10.