Everyone has bad days; we have all been there and as veterinary professionals in the Barossa, we are very thankful for how few bad days we come across from our client base. The animals we see on a regular basis are well cared for, with owners who allow diagnostic work ups and appropriate therapy to ensure the best quality of life possible.
As you read this article, it is unlikely that you are unaware of the challenges the veterinary industry faces around mental health and wellbeing. Yet, this article does not aim to reinforce the cycle of gloom, rather focus on some great positive actions that are being taken to support those within the profession and create awareness externally.
A legacy is being created on the back of the loss of Dr Sophie Putland to suicide in September 2021, her family and the local vet community are supporting a campaign called, ‘We’re only Human,’ through the charity, Sophie’s Legacy.
The campaign is the result of a survey completed by over 600 Australian veterinarians, that showed the biggest issue for veterinary staff on a day-to-day basis is animal owners abusing staff, especially over costs and patient outcomes.
Based on this result, the campaign aims to reinforce that vets are only human, that we work in a high-paced, high-pressure environment and that whatever might be going on at a point in time, vets and veterinary support staff should be treated with kindness and respect (like everyone in every service industry).
General media awareness around, ‘We’re only human’ has been excellent, backed by an online campaign as well as the support of veterinary clinics with the display of posters in waiting rooms across Australia. Further to this, an online pledge committing to treating all veterinary staff with respect is available, accessed via QR code.
In addition to the, ‘We’re only Human’ campaign, there are several charities around Australia including, Love Your Pet Love Your Vet and Flynn’s Walk, that create awareness and support around veterinary staff wellbeing and mental health.
Internally, veterinary businesses are making many positive changes to support their teams through the promotion of wellness activities, provision of employee assistance programs, as well as creating a space for safe conversation around mental health.
Seeing the support of the wider community for these charities and receiving positive feedback from clients about the daily great outcomes pets have under veterinary care, combined with the media coverage and support of positive change, is bolstering for any veterinary team and we thank all Barossa and surrounding clients for your support and ongoing treatment of veterinary teams with respect.