Founded in 2014 by Hilal Dogan and Corey Regnerus
In February 2014, two vet students, Hilal Dogan and Corey Regnerus, launched a new initiative in collaboration with the Institution of Veterinary, Animal and Biomedical Sciences (IVABS) and Massey University Counselling Services, called “Vet Confessionals.”
Vet Confessionals came to existance in a rather unusual way. In July 2013, an American veterinarian by the name of Eden Myers asked for help from her collegues located in all corners of the world to start a series of TED talks (15 minute inspirational speeches) for the veterinary community. She reeled people in with the motto that “We as vets have the power to change the world, we just don’t know it yet!” She assembled a team, including Corey and Hilal, to hunt down people involved in the veterinary field willing to give thought provoking speeches involving the vet community, vet practice and vet educational systems. 12 speakers were invited to present their TED talks at the National American Veterinary Community (NAVC) Conference in January 2014, including Donald Plumb himself! Working as a team with other veterinarians globally we managed to pull off the first-ever veterinary TED-like talk series.
How the project idea was bornHilal was also asked to speak at the upcoming NAVC 2015 for the next series of veterinary TED talks that are in the process of being organised. Hilal was asked to give a student perspective while incorporating aspects of transition between student-life and “the real-world”. Consequently, the project idea was born. Inspiration came from Frank Warren and PostSecret in the USA. He has helped tremendously to bring public awareness to serious issues such as suicide, depression, loneliness, and abuse through his project. His project leads to people finding hope, healing and solutions rather than loss, despair and frustration. Frank started out by randomly handing out 2000 post cards as an “experiment” and waited for people to send their responses with no return address and no name. He was hoping it would allow a certain release for the person writing it, and a connection and empathy with those reading them, and boy did his hopes ccme true. In addition to heavy secrets, he also encouraged sharing of light, funny, embarrassing, quirky and thought provoking secrets. It’s a dynamic and shifting experiment with no constraints or limitations.
How it works: Vet Confessionals follows this same principle. It's an anonymous submission of a “secret” via a postcard (either one provided or an individualised one), that is reviewed and can now be shown on the Massey STREAM site (a Massey student intranet site) to BVSc and BVetTech students. Postcard submitters do have the option of providing their contact details if they so desire, and in turn may be contacted by a counsellor. The hope is, should this be a success, to expand this out to the wider veterinary community and even to other health professions and present results at the NAVC. In addition, with further expansion this is an attempt to join human medicine with veterinary medicine under the “One Health Initiative”.
If you have any questions about the project, or would like to provide support in it’s development, please feel free to contact Hilal or Corey or respectively.
Based in Massey University, New Zealand, Vet Confessionals is a Massey veterinary student initiative established in 2014. In recognition of the high global rates of burnout, suicide and feelings of isolation in veterinary students and professionals, we seek to provide a safe and anonymous outlet for emotion and creativity.
Despite our name, Vet Confessionals is an avenue for everyone involved in the veterinary profession – not just veterinarians! If you’re part of the industry, and have something you want to get off your chest, why don’t you submit a secret? Find out how to here.
The Vet Confessionals project has gone global – we started from New Zealand, and have now been to the United States and Australia, with big plans for even more appearances! Connect with us on Facebook, to keep up-to-date with Vet Confessionals news.