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Study to review vet nurse mental health education
The grant has been awarded to Dr Faye Didymus and Dr Jackie Hargreaves from Leeds Beckett University.

MMI Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant will fund project.

The RCVS Mind Matters (MMI) has awarded a £20,000 research grant to a project that will explore student veterinary nurse mental health education.

MMI Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant has been awarded to Dr Faye Didymus and Dr Jackie Hargreaves from Leeds Beckett University. Their project aims to investigate the potential lack of understanding surrounding the importance of mental health education in the learning paths of student veterinary nurses.

Following their research, Dr Didymus and Dr Hargreaves hope to produce a set of evidence-based recommendations for how mental health education for student veterinary nurses could be enhanced.

On being told their proposal had been awarded the grant, Dr Didymus said: “Being awarded the Sarah Brown Research Grant offers a fantastic opportunity for us and for the future of veterinary nursing. We hope that our research will have a real impact on the mental health of those working in the veterinary nursing profession.

“Maintaining good mental health is vital for job satisfaction, retention, and performance, and integrating mental health education into veterinary nursing courses is one way that veterinary nurse mental health can be supported, as it allows people to develop essential skills that will benefit their lives beyond education.” 

The MMI Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant was founded in 2019 in memory of RCVS council member Sarah Brown, who passed away in 2017. The grant has previously funded projects into a number of areas, including: the mental health impacts of racism; moral injury; and farm veterinarian mental health.

This is the final year of the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grants. 

Mind Matters Initiative manager, Lisa Quigley, said: “Much of the research into veterinary mental health has so far been centred around veterinary surgeons so we were keen to fund a veterinary nurse focused project to help close that knowledge gap. 

“The veterinary field encompasses the entire veterinary team, and we cannot afford to overlook a group that makes up much of the working veterinary population and who are vital for the functioning of the sector. It is essential that we support our veterinary nurses throughout their careers and provide them with the knowledge and tools to look after their own mental wellbeing from the outset. 

“Research plays a major role in this, and we are delighted to be funding a fully nurse-based project.”

The Sarah Brown Grant will be awarded to Dr Didymus and Dr Hargreaves at the Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium, being held in Manchester on Tuesday, 10 October. Tickets are available online.

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.