Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Reptiles

Stress, depression and the companion animal 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 veterinary 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. Farm veterinarians, being on the road all day 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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