Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Stress, depression and the equine veterinarian

Contributor(s): Vetstream Ltd, Vetlife

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Stress, anxiety and depression

  • Forty percent of all work related illness in the UK is due to stress (ONS Labour Force Survey).
  • Veterinarians may experience higher levels of anxiety, depressive symptoms and negative work-home interaction than the general population.
  • Veterinarians in the UK are three to four times more likely than the general population to die by suicide.
  • We don’t have good data for wellbeing in the rest of the veterinarian practice team, but they share some of the same stressors, and are affected by others as well.
  • It’s important to remember that stress is usually transient and can improve given sufficient rest and support.
  • It’s important to acknowledge stress and take action, and not ignore it, as left untreated stress can become chronic and can sometimes contribute to other mental health difficulties.
  • What causes difficulties of wellbeing for veterinarians?
    • Difficulties with work life balance, long hours, expectations, financial pressures, managerial aspects of the job, and other factors can make it difficult to prioritize our wellbeing.
    • There are physical risks in veterinarian work too and traumatic injury can have psychological consequences as well as physical.
    • We provide emotional and psychological support to others as part of our work but may not have good support ourselves.
  • There is evidence that certain sub groups of the profession may be at particular risk of psychological difficulties.
    • One of these groups is people who work alone. Equine veterinarians, being on the road a lot would be included in this.

If you feel like you are struggling, you are not alone. There is support available, and people who want to help – see the last section of this article.

Five tips for self-care

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Five tips for supporting colleagues

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Vetlife

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Other places to seek help

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