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SRUC awarded mental health research grant
Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has been awarded more than £20,000 to fund research into veterinary mental health and wellbeing.
Research aims to “break the cycle of negative thoughts” in the farm animal sector

Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) has been awarded more than £20,000 to fund research into veterinary mental health and wellbeing.

The Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant was awarded to SRUC at RCVS Day on Friday 12 July. Behavioural scientist Dr Kate Stephen will lead the project and undertake the majority of qualitative data collection and analysis.
 
“It is an honour to be awarded this grant," said Dr Stephen. "We hope our project will make a positive contribution towards understanding and improving the mental health and wellbeing of individuals in the veterinary profession."

The Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant is named after an elected RCVS Council member who tragically passed away in 2017. It provides funding for research focussed on mental health within the veterinary professions, including areas such as prevention, diagnosis, intervention and treatment.

“While nothing can replace Sarah, I am glad that, with the blessing of her family, we have been able to launch these grants and, indeed, find a worthy recipient," commented Professor Stuart Reid, chair of the Mind Matters Initiative.
 
“We were very impressed with SRUC’s proposal because it focused on farm animal veterinary sector, an area of practice that can be harder to address when it comes to mental health support, but which has significant challenges that research has demonstrated can put strains on the mental health and wellbeing of veterinary surgeons.

“For example, some farm vets have cited isolation, the challenging nature of some aspects of the job and the great responsibility it carries for the livelihood of farmers and rural communities as being particularly stressful.”

He added: ‘The SRUC research has the very laudable aim of identifying how to better promote job satisfaction and to break the cycle of negative thoughts and poor mental wellbeing identified amongst farm vets, and so we are very glad to have made this award to the team.

“It’s only by improving the veterinary mental health evidence base that we will be able to hone the interventions and support that is available to members of the veterinary team.”

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RSPCA braced for ‘hectic hedgehog month’

News Story 1
 The RSPCA says that it is bracing itself for a ‘hectic hedgehog month’ after calls to the charity about the creatures peaked this time last year.

More than 10,000 calls about hedgehogs were made to the RSPCA’s national helpline in 2018, 1,867 of which were in July. This compares with just 133 calls received in February of the same year.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s scientific officer, said: “July is our busiest month for hedgehogs. Not only do calls about hedgehogs peak, but so do admissions to our four wildlife centres as members of the public and our own officers bring in orphaned, sick or injured animals for treatment and rehabilitation.” 

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