Did you know that October 10th is World Mental Health Day? This is a day initiated in 1992 by the World Federation for Mental Health and this year’s theme is “Mental health is a universal human right.” Good mental health is vital to our overall holistic health and well-being. According to the World Health Organization, one in eight people globally are living with mental health conditions, which can impact their physical health, their sense of well-being, how they connect to their community, and their livelihoods.
In the veterinary profession, there has been a more earnest and honest examination of the impacts of higher levels of work-related psychological distress which may contribute to higher risk of suicidal ideation and death by suicide in the veterinary profession. Increased veterinary-centric research and examination of the root causes for occupational distress, empathic strain, secondary traumatic stress, and burnout have brought valuable insights. When we are able to identify the ‘what’ and ‘why, we are able to “name it to tame it!” This means that we can normalize the conversation and demonstrate self and community compassion. Decreasing isolation, shame, and stigma allows for a more connected and supportive community to bring our innate empathy, curiosity, and problem-solving natures to the table.
I invite you to join me in intentionally practicing and developing a ‘growth mindset’ and a lens of realistic optimism. Together, we are smarter, more resilient, and capable of developing the potential strategies and creative approaches that mitigate some of the inevitable work-related stressors and that foster a culture that supports the human needs of veterinary caregiving professionals and leaders. We are also part of a global community of wisdom, resources, and pragmatic approaches that will support us in our journey to thrive as individuals and teams in the veterinary profession.
For more immediate opportunities to raise awareness, courage, and competency to support your own and other’s mental health, please consider:
1. Take the AVMA’s free QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevent training (QPR suicide prevention training | American Veterinary Medical Association (avma.org)
2. Explore how you can become trained as a ‘first aider’ through the international Mental Health First Aid training program (Mental Health First Aid)
3. Become familiar with and put crisis hotlines in your mobile device to have on hand for yourself or to support others in need: https://suicide.org
5. Make a difference in someone you love’s life by checking in on them and giving a helping hand to someone who has been having a tough time recently.
6. Wearing a green ribbon on Mental Health Day will also be a symbolic way to raise awareness for mental health.
Alternatively, you could make a difference in someone you love’s life by checking in on them and giving a helping hand to someone who has been having a tough time recently.
Stay tuned as Worldwide Vets Blogs will be doing a series on mental health.
WORLDWIDE VETS THRIVE
After noticing the need within the industry Worldwide Vets will be hosting a 7 day continuing education (CPD) course set at an all inclusive 5* lodge in spectacular Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe, Africa.
The focus of the 32 hours of continuing education is mental health awareness and self-development. These are vital skills for any professional to improve their working environment, career longevity, satisfaction and ability to support and develop themselves and their team. The course accepts up to 16 people at a time for an exclusive African experience.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in please check out the course here: https://www.worldwidevets.com/thrive