The first global survey of veterinary wellness has revealed that thousands of veterinary professionals across the world are experiencing stress and reduced wellbeing.
Conducted by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA), the survey suggests those ‘most seriously affected’ are younger professionals, females and veterinary nurses. It also highlights a reluctance among professionals in Asia and Africa to discuss mental health, an issue that described by the WSAVA as 'of significant concern’.
The results were presented by Dr Nienke Endenburg, co-chair of the WSAVA’s Professional Wellness Group (PWG), during the WSAVA World Congress in Toronto (17 July). During a subsequent panel discussion, delegates were encouraged to take control of their wellbeing by supporting their colleagues, making smart career choices and committing to ‘self-care’.
Dr Endenburg said: “Our research – the first global study of veterinary wellness – confirms a probable correlation between a career in veterinary medicine and an elevated risk of mental health issues. It’s likely that this is caused by a combination of factors including working environment, personal characteristics and client pressures.
“We are very concerned at the impact this is having on thousands of veterinary professionals worldwide and believe it must be addressed without delay.”
She continued: “The study has provided us with some very important data which we are now analyzing in more detail and preparing for scientific publication. We will then develop an urgent action plan.
“As part of the plan, we will share the helpful resources already created by some veterinary associations. We will also develop additional tools to ensure all veterinary healthcare team members can access help when they have – or ideally before they have – a mental health problem.
“We hope our efforts will be another important step towards bringing about positive change and enhancing the well-being of all veterinarians globally.”