Veterinarians spend considerable time promoting wellness for our patients, but much less time taking steps to protect and advance our own well-being. Studies show high rates of suicide and depression across the veterinary profession. As veterinarians, we are challenged to find new ways to protect our own and our colleagues’ mental health.
Today the AVMA is excited to announce two new mental wellness initiatives to serve the veterinary profession: a pilot program to train veterinarians to identify and assist colleagues who might be considering suicide; and a LinkedIn community devoted to wellness and well-being for veterinarians.
Wellness gatekeeper training for veterinarians
The AVMA, AVMA LIFE and AVMA PLIT have joined together to offer a pilot program that will provide gatekeeper suicide-prevention training to veterinarians and veterinary students. Called QPR training – an acronym that stands for “Question, Persuade, Refer” – this training teaches people without professional mental health backgrounds to:
- Recognize the signs that someone may be considering suicide
- Establish a dialogue with the person
- Guide the person to seek professional help
Gatekeeper training is not a substitute for professional assistance, but it can be a critical tool to save lives – and it’s something that any veterinary professional can learn to do.
We’ve partnered to provide this training free of charge to a limited number of AVMA members and veterinary students through the QPR Institute, which has provided gatekeeper training to more than 1 million people since 1999. Cost considerations require the number of participants to be restricted at this time, but the program may be expanded in the future. At least for now, the training is available to AVMA and Student AVMA members on a first-come, first-served basis. We encourage you to learn more and sign up for QPR training as soon as possible.
Join the community: Veterinary Wellness and Well-being
We also urge all AVMA and SAVMA members to join us in an ongoing dialogue about mental wellness and well-being in the veterinary profession in the new LinkedIn community AVMA Veterinary Wellness and Well-being. Here, we’ll be joined by thought leaders from the mental health profession in sharing and discussing a wide range of topics related to well-being and tactics for dealing with stress.
This is an opportunity to connect with your colleagues who share your concern about wellness and well-being. As a community of many voices, we are stronger and can continue learning and growing together. Membership in the LinkedIn group is open to all AVMA and SAVMA members; we invite you to join the conversation today.