Vets’ mental health: New report
High-stress levels, unmanageable expectations from clients and demanding workloads are among the main causes of a decline in vets’ mental health.
That is according to research commissioned by a veterinary pharmaceutical company, Vetoquinol UK, into the veterinary industry.
The new study of over 200 veterinary professionals found that 63% feel their mental health has worsened since taking up their profession.
For many, veterinary care is more than just a job — it is a selfless way of life, as the survey highlighted.
Close to 67% of participants say that they chose the career due to a love of animals and a passion for protecting their welfare.
The survey revealed that obtaining positive outcomes for difficult situations and seeing happy animals and pleased owners are some of the main drivers that bring veterinary professionals joy.
Due to problems – such as staff shortages and the pandemic pet ownership boom leaving the industry in crisis – more than 40% of vets believe that their mental health is below average.
A major contributing factor to this decline is that 67% of respondents do not feel that there is enough support in the industry to help them navigate difficult times.
However, 78% know where they can seek it if they require it.
72% feel that they have someone they can talk to about their frustrations and worries around work.
When asked what further assistance they wanted, professionals stated pointed to in-practice support through dedicated programmes and free counselling,
They also added that addressing the current problems in the industry is “paramount” to making “tangible” changes.
Vets at breaking point
Caitrina Oakes, managing director at Vetoquinol UK and NOAH Chair, said:
“The findings from this research have highlighted a harrowing truth — that veterinary professionals from all sectors have been stretched to breaking point.”
“Vets and their teams are sacrificing their well-being to protect the welfare of our farm, equine, and companion animals.”
“It is now time for pet owners and businesses to recognise the mental strain this is putting on the industry.”
“As a veterinary pharmaceutical company, we understand that we have a duty to look after the well-being of those on the frontline.”
The company hosted a free three-part webinar series, Battling Burnout with Vetoquinol, last year.
It centred on offering practical guidance and tips on overcoming stress.
The company revealed that this is “just the start of our work in this space”. It confirmed that it would continue to support the well-being of vets in 2022 and beyond.
Oakes concluded: “In the coming months, we hope to see more businesses, farmers, and pet owners rallying together to support those who selflessly care for our animals every day.”
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