World Veterinary Day: Supporting Veterinarians with Flexibility

As we celebrate World Veterinary Day, it’s crucial to recognize the dedication of veterinarians worldwide and shed light on the often unnoticed struggle they face—their mental health. Behind the scenes of animal care, veterinarians contend with emotional and psychological challenges  triggered by work intensity, duration of working hours, and its associated effects on personal lives or even feeling undervalued by senior staff and/or management.

Today, let’s delve into this important topic, emphasizing the need for support and self-care within the veterinary community.

Depression in the Veterinary Community

According to VetLife, “veterinary surgeons in the UK are three to four times more likely than the general population to die by suicide“. This highlights the mental health challenges in the profession. The alarming statistics underscore the urgent need for addressing mental health issues among veterinarians. It’s imperative to recognize the emotional toll that comes with the responsibility of caring for beloved pets and the profound impact it can have on veterinarians’ well-being.

Wellbeing Survey of Veterinary Nursing Profession

A survey by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Mind Matters Initiative revealed alarming statistics about the mental health challenges faced by veterinary professionals:

  • 96% of respondents reported bullying and incivility as serious problems.
  • 70% had experienced a mental health concern, with only half receiving professional support.

These findings highlight the urgent need for systemic changes to support the mental well-being of veterinary professionals and create a healthier work environment.

British Veterinary Association Survey

An additional survey by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) found that a third of vets had significant concerns about their mental health. This statistic underscores the pervasive nature of mental health challenges within the veterinary community and emphasizes the critical importance of addressing these issues proactively. It’s clear that more needs to be done to provide adequate support and resources for veterinarians facing mental health struggles.

Creating a Culture of Support and Empathy

On World Veterinary Day, it is essential to celebrate the invaluable contributions of veterinarians and acknowledge the unseen challenges they face. Fostering a culture of support and empathy can create a healthier work environment for veterinary professionals.

By promoting open discussions about mental health and encouraging colleagues to seek help when needed, we can enhance the well-being of veterinarians.

Taking Action: Prioritizing Flexibility for Veterinary Well-being

One way to support the mental health and well-being of veterinarians is by prioritizing flexibility in the workplace and although flexible working may not resolve all challenges, it demonstrates a commitment to improving well-being and work-life balance.

Flexibility can involve various aspects, such as flexible working hours, remote work options, and the availability of support systems for veterinarians. By implementing flexible policies and practices, veterinary workplaces can better support their professionals and contribute to their overall well-being.

Consider taking the Flexee Health Score, a tool that measures and tracks workplace flexibility. By offering flexibility, we can enhance work-life balance, retain staff, and ultimately improve mental health within the veterinary profession. Let’s prioritize flexibility to support those who dedicate their lives to caring for animals

In appreciation of World Veterinary Day, let’s extend our gratitude to the compassionate individuals who work tirelessly to ensure the health and happiness of our beloved pets.

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