New AVMA programs aim to boost veterinary wellness and well-being

QPR_Blog_300x300_102416Veterinarians 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.

2 thoughts on “New AVMA programs aim to boost veterinary wellness and well-being

  1. The Maslach Burnout Inventory, MBI, is recognized as the leading measure of burnout worldwide, validated with over 30 years of extensive research. Dr. Christina Maslach, UCBerkeley, is the author and the pioneer of burnout research. Mind Garden, Inc ( is the publisher of the MBI. We provide the MBI online with individual and group data analysis. Individual and group reports are available for measuring burnout and providing information on solving burnout. Please let me know if I could provide you more information on supporting your mission of veterinary well-being.
    timi B Most
    Vice President, Mind Garden, Inc.
    650 322-6300

  2. New World Library is publishing a book I have written entitled, “The Spiritual Nature of Animals: A Country Vet Explores the Wisdom, Compassion, and Souls of Animals.” The book describes my dilemma as an ambulatory horse doctor, running to emergencies, and struggling to take care of myself. My salvation came as I began to research the world’s religious, scientific, and spiritual teachings about the non-physical aspect of Creatures Great and Small. I thoroughly explain what scholars, spiritual leaders, and the great religious books say about animals. The book also contains countless interviews and my own insights as I look for meaning behind the tremendous suffering and death veterinarians deal with daily. My goal with this book is to help veterinarians and all animal lovers find relief from the existential despair. My talks on this subject have received loud applause and rave reviews. I offer my assistance to you.