“Not One More Vet” Supports Veterinary Mental Health
July 8, 2022
It’s the mantra of so many veterinary teams. The words that flash through your mind after you are unable to save an animal. And whether the problem was medical, financial, or something else… the message is the same: I’ve failed. And when you carry this weight, the other stressors of working in a veterinary practice can feel unbearable. The bright, impassioned idealism to be the protector and savior of animals turns to ash, and depression begins to take over your life.
These words from the non-profit organization, “Not One More Vet (NOMV)” encapsulate the troubling reality that many veterinarians face. Long work hours; a workforce shortage; the burden of student debt; and difficult-to-please clients all contribute to their mental load.
“Research shows that veterinarians and their staff have a far higher suicide rate than that of the general public,” said Darlene Bos, NOMV executive director. “We seek to transform the status of mental wellness in the profession.”
NOMV does so through:
Grants to assist veterinarians struggling financially
Peer support in the veterinary community, with a current online network of more than 35,000 veterinary professionals
Education about wellness; and
Research to further the advancement of wellness, mental health, and the reduction of suicide among veterinary professionals
These efforts are made possible through private contributions, along with an annual fundraising event, Race Around the World. The 5K race is a fun and healthy way to raise awareness and funds for NOMV. The race takes place every September (Suicide Prevention Month).
NOMV also has furthered its mission through corporate collaboration. CLEAR Blueprint, a free practice certification sponsored by Merck Animal Health, was developed by an interdisciplinary team of veterinary professionals, mental health professionals, and lawyers. The program is intended to empower teams to implement the changes that will develop and maintain healthy cultures that prioritize staff wellbeing for practice owners, veterinarians, support staff, and everyone involved in veterinary medicine.
Last year, Zoetis launched an online campaign to honor dairy veterinarians. The program was developed “to help reverse an alarming rise in veterinarian suicides among those who work difficult, tiring hours while protecting and caring for cattle.”
Zoetis solicited nominations to celebrate dairy veterinarians, donating $5.00 for each person honored. The campaign resulted in a $10,000 donation to NOMV. “One more veterinarian lost to suicide is too many,” said Jared Shriver, senior vice president, U.S. Cattle at Zoetis. “We hope others will follow the lead of the dairy families that spoke up to support the crucial contributions of their community’s veterinarian.”