The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have joined forces to promote improved mental health and wellbeing across the veterinary team.
Building on the RCVS Mind Matters Initiative brand in the UK and the AVMA’s Wellbeing and Peer Assistance Initiative, the two organisations will work together on joint projects to advocate positive behaviour and support around mental health, collaborate on developing an evidence base, and share best practice around interventions.
The two organisations have agreed to a statement which captures the importance that both organisations put on a healthy and sustainable profession.
It states: “We believe that for veterinary professionals to realise their full potential and the global veterinary profession to remain sustainable, maintaining high levels of mental health and wellbeing for all members of the veterinary team is a priority. Improving veterinary mental health and wellbeing has a positive impact on individuals, the profession at large and, ultimately, animal health and welfare, and public health.”
The Mind Matters Initiative has been running in the UK since 2015 and aims to address mental ill health within the veterinary team by tackling systemic issues that put individuals at risk; protecting those who may be working in “suboptimal conditions” by providing them with training and supporting those who need specific help with funding and one-to-one help.
Meanwhile the AVMA has a programme of activities that seek to address mental health issues including the development of a workplace wellbeing education program and ongoing education.
Professor Stuart Reid, chair of the RCVS Mind Matters Initiative, said: “Regardless of where we live and work, as members of the veterinary profession we have many issues in common. The RCVS and AVMA have been discussing how we might best share ideas, resources and best practice for some time and I was delighted to meet with the senior officers of the AVMA at their recent convention in Denver.
“I firmly believe that in collaborating with the AVMA we will be able to address more effectively the pressing issues around mental health, and reinforce the many positives of working in such a wonderful profession.”
Dr John de Jong, president of AVMA, added: “As two highly respected veterinary organisations in the increasingly global veterinary community, it is both logical and important that the AVMA and RCVS stand together speaking to the topic of mental health and wellbeing that affects people in our profession as much or more than among the general public.”