Don’t be afraid to reach out to colleagues, say BVA and Vetlife

09 May 2018

Vetlife Helpline is available 24 hours a day to listen

The British Veterinary Association (BVA)
is encouraging members of the profession to reach out to colleagues as it
reveals 77% of vets have experienced concern for a colleague or fellow
student's mental health and wellbeing.

BVA and veterinary wellbeing charity
Vetlife are encouraging all members of the veterinary family to mark Mental
Health Awareness Week 2018 by reaching out to colleagues and by opening up
about the issues and experiences that may be causing them stress.

John Fishwick, President, British
Veterinary Association, said:

“We know that veterinary careers can be
deeply rewarding but we also understand that the work can be stressful and
challenging at times. In this sort of high-pressure environment it's especially
important that everyone feels able to reach out about whatever is worrying them
or causing them stress.

“Next week is Mental Health Awareness
Week so we're taking the opportunity to remind everyone to reach out to
colleagues who may be struggling, to be open about their own difficult
experiences and to share the tools that help them cope. This isn't just about
one week of the year. We hope by opening these conversations we can all play a
role in ensuring veterinary work and study environments are supportive and
nurturing places.”

The figures, released this week from
BVA's Voice of the Veterinary Profession survey, showed that nearly half of the
vets surveyed (44%) were unsure whether they would be able to recognise the
signs of mental ill-health in a colleague.

As well as encouraging conversations
about mental health and wellbeing in the profession BVA is urging members to
post on Twitter and Facebook about their own tips for dealing with stress using
the hashtags #wellbeing and #vetlife. BVA will be signposting to useful
resources throughout the week and posting a series of blogs relating to
veterinary wellbeing.

Welcoming the encouragement by BVA,
Vetlife Helpline Manager, Rosie Allister, said:

“We know that a number of factors can
make it feel difficult for veterinary professionals to ask for help, but when
people do, it may be peers who they first speak to, and those supportive
workplace relationships can be vital.”

Rosie highlighted the support offered
through Vetlife Helpline by trained volunteers, who understand the challenges
of veterinary work. She added:

“Whether you are going through a
difficult time yourself, or supporting a colleague who is, Vetlife Helpline is
available 24 hours a day to listen. Vetlife's Health Support service, which
people can access via the Helpline also offers professional advice and care for
veterinary professionals concerned about their mental health.”

Vetlife is an independent charity that
provides free and confidential support to anyone in the UK veterinary community
who has emotional, health or financial problems. For 24-hour confidential
emotional support call the Vetlife Helpline on 0303 040 2551 or visit
to send an anonymous email.

BVA and Vetlife
are supporters of the Mind Matters Initiative (MMI), which aims to improve the
mental health and wellbeing of those in the veterinary team, including
students, veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons and practice managers.