Vet Confessionals at the First International Veterinary Wellbeing Symposium
In Brisbane, Australia on the 29th of May, I had that amazing opportunity to attend the First International Symposium for Veterinary Mental Health and Suicide Prevention. This symposium was a world first dedicated to try and remove the stigma around the word ‘suicide,’ while bring the truths to the forefront of the mental health concerns plaguing the veterinary community as a whole. Here, specialists from the UK and Australia presented the sobering facts about the frequency and risk of anxiety, depression and suicide attempts in our field, as well as some of the current systems and models that are in place to try and combat these risks. The day was filled of ups and downs, some heated debate, and several vets sharing their past experiences and attempts at suicide. At the end of the day, a steering committee was born to try to continue to push forward gaining the traction required to make a change. During the day, I had the opportunity to present the ‘Vet Confessionals’ project to the wider veterinary community, and it was welcomed with open arms and minds. The other vet schools in Australia are keen to get on board with the project as soon as we get our website up and running. Hopefully within the next couple months, we will have the website built, trial it in New Zealand, and then expand into Australian Vet Schools, and the wider vet community in both countries. Our team at Massey is very excited about the opportunities that have now arisen, and for all of the future possibilities we have yet to come across.
None of this would have been possible without the generous support from our already existing strong network within our community here in NZ and overseas. I would like to extend a huge thank you for the financial contributions, moral support and encouragement from the Elizabeth Veterinary Benevolent Fund and the NZ Veterinary Association, The Veterinary Council of New Zealand, Massey University Counselling Services, Boehringer-Ingelheim, the Massey University Veterinary Students Association, Dr. Michelle Durkee and her practice the West Palm Animal Clinic in Florida, USA, and a few private donations as well including Dr. Jenny Weston and my father.
Should you wish to learn more about our project, or interested in helping us work towards our goals, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Corey Regnerus, Vet Confessionals – Co-Founder