The Australian Veterinary Association is calling on both major parties ahead of the federal election to pledge $3 million over five years to save the lives and wellbeing of Australian vets.
Recent independent research has shown that veterinarians treat personal mental health issues at a higher rate than the general population. More than half of veterinary respondents said they had or suffered from a mental health problem. Specifically, 41.6% of survey respondents indicated that they had suffered from a mental health problem in the past 12 months.
The AVA commissioned independent research by workplace mental health consultants, Superfriend, to investigate mental health among members of the profession, with results demonstrating that significant investment is needed in the sector.
“The veterinary profession is an extremely rewarding profession, but we are so busy caring for the animals in the community that we don’t have time to take care of ourselves,” said AVA president, the Dr. Warwick Vale.
“This research confirms what veterinarians already know: our profession is not healthy and in order for us to serve the community, we need a healthy and thriving profession.
“I’ve been to too many colleagues’ funerals, I’ve seen too many colleagues leave the profession and I’ve seen too many colleagues crack under pressure.
“The AVA is investing in solving this crisis, but we can’t do it alone – we need the next federal government to stand with us and lend a hand to our nation’s vets.”
Key elements that investing in veterinary mental health would support include:
- A public campaign to educate the community
- Lifelong mentorship
- Dedicated veterinary advisory services
- Development and delivery of wellness education materials specific to veterinarians
The full AVA election platform can be found here.