DID YOU KNOW – Veterinary professionals are more than twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts as other Canadians are?
Dr. Nicole McArthur created the online support group “Not One More Vet” on October 1, 2014, following the suicide of world-renowned Veterinarian, Dr. Sophia Yin. Following her death, there were many news reports that veterinarians are at an increased risk for suicide.
The job challenges that Veterinarians face day-to-day have led to extremely high suicide rates, according to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A study conducted by the CDC analyzed over 11,000 veterinarian death records between 1979 & 2015 – the study showed that nearly 400 veterinarians had died by suicide during that time.
A survey done in 2014 by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) found that one in five veterinarians were either cyberbullied by pet owners who write negative reviews online, threaten their lives and safety, make harassing calls, or they know a colleague who has been through such an experience.
While there are usually multiple factors that cause someone to commit suicide, the various factors can add up quickly. A survey conducted in 2014 of over 11,000 Veterinarians in the US showed that 9% were experiencing serious mental distress, 31% were experiencing depressive episodes, and 17% had experienced suicidal thoughts since leaving veterinary school.
This industry is not all puppies, kittens, and wonderful scenarios. Emotions are high, and our patients cannot physically communicate with their owners or us – we are the voices of our patients who cannot speak for themselves. Veterinary team members from around the world care so deeply about their patients, and will do everything in their power to advocate for them. Unfortunately, in such an industry, this message can be often forgotten, as well as the impact to the veterinary team members’ mental health seeing sick pets’ day in and day out. Not One More Vet brings attention to this very serious topic, which everyone should be aware of.
We ask that you be kind, compassionate, and thank your local veterinary hospital team. They carry so much on their shoulders that cannot be seen. We are all in this together.
If you or someone you know may be contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Service at 1-833-456-4566. In an emergency, please call 911 or seek care from a local hospital or mental health provider.