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RCVS to extend Mind Matters Initiative
Mind Matters will continue to donate £100k per year to mental health support charity VetLife.
Funding will allow project to build on previous success 

The RCVS has announced that it is to extend its Mind Matters initiative on a rolling three-year basis and that it will increase funding to £250k per year.

In a press release, the College said the investment will allow the project to continue to address and improve mental health and wellbeing within the veterinary profession.

Plans to extend the initiative were put forward by Professor Stuart Reid, chair of Mind Matters, at a meeting of RCVS Council on Thursday (27 September). The project was initially given three years of funding at £200k per year, but Council unanimously voted in favour of the proposal to switch to a rolling three-year agreement.

The RCVS said that Mind Matters will continue to donate £100k per year to mental health support charity VetLife. The remaining £150k will be spent on other initiatives, such as providing research, training and a culture-change programme.

Commenting on the extension, Professor Stuart Reid said: “I’m both delighted and immensely grateful that Council has demonstrated their support for Mind Matters unanimously and so generously. Their commitment to our mission will allow us to take the initiative to the next level and, importantly, continue to assess the impact of our work.”

Mind Matters runs joint mental health awareness courses in tandem with the BSAVA, mental health for managers courses with the Veterinary Management Group and the Joint Wellbeing Awards with the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons. In January 2017, Mind Matters launched the “&me” de-stigmatising campaign with the Doctors Support Network at the House of Commons.

Since its launch in 2015, Mind Matters has run 45 mental health awareness courses, spoken at more than 50 external conferences and events and hosted many other conferences and activities. It said that during this period there has been a 500 per cent increase in calls to the Vetlife, demonstrating a reduction in the stigma about seeking help.

An RCVS spokesperson said: ‘This further funding will ensure the Mind Matters Initiative can continue to build on its success, highlighting the importance of individual well-being and seeking to ‘prevent, protect and support’ all members of the veterinary team.’

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New road sign to protect small wildlife

News Story 1
 Transport secretary Chris Grayling has unveiled a new road sign to help cut traffic accidents and protect small wildlife, particularly hedgehogs.

Local authorities and animal welfare groups are being asked to identify accident and wildlife hotspots where the sign - which features a hedgehog - should be located.

Government figures show that more than 600 people were injured in road accidents involving animals in 2017, and four people were killed. These figures do not include accidents involving horses. The new sign will be used to warn motorists in areas where there are large concentrations of small wild animals, including squirrels, badgers, otters and hedgehogs.  

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News Shorts
NOAH members re-elect Jamie Brannan as chair

Jamie Brannan, senior Vice President of Zoetis, has been re-elected as chair of NOAH for 2019/20, during this year’s AGM, held in London.

Mr Brannan joined Zoetis and the NOAH board in 2016, becoming NOAH’s vice-chair in 2018 and replacing Gaynor Hillier as chair later that year.

He commented: “I am extremely pleased to have been elected by the NOAH membership and am proud to be able to represent our industry at such a critical time for the UK animal health industry. I look forward to driving forward our new NOAH Strategy and to working with our members, old and new, in the coming year.”