Did you know?
Veterinarians have one of the highest rates of suicide - approximately four-times the national average (or around 1 suicide every 12 weeks) in Australia alone. Similar statistics have sadly been reported globally, with many citing veterinarians are around three-times the national average. While there is very little research into other veterinary professionals, we know that our veterinary nurses, technicians, and students are also at risk of suicide.
Our founder, pioneer and leading authority on veterinary wellbeing, Psychologist Dr Nadine Hamilton, completed doctoral research into veterinarian wellbeing and is passionate about raising awareness of this serious issue. She is the author of the best-selling book "Coping with Stress and Burnout as a Veterinarian", which can best be described as a self-help mental health intervention and psycho-educational resource.
In 2018 we partnered with Royal Canin Australia to raise awareness within the community of the factors contributing to the alarming rate of burnout and suicide in veterinarians, as well as reduce the stigma in veterinary professionals seeking help, and provide support in helping them regain their wellbeing and quality of life. Our initial campaign was so successful that Dr Hamilton registered Love Your Pet Love Your Vet as a charity to enable us to extend the work we are doing for the veterinary community.
Since then our work has reached global proportions, and we continue to advocate for the wellbeing of all veterinary professionals. Most recently, Dr Hamilton was personally invited to attend the government's invitation-only suicide prevention taskforce summit at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in November 2019.
Where it all began - introduction to Love Your Pet Love Your Vet
Approximately one veterinarian will suicide every 12 weeks. Some of the contributing factors to the high rate of burnout and suicide in our veterinarians are having to deal with difficult and aggressive clients, dealing with unrealistic expectations from clients (even though they seemingly perform miracles, they cannot possibly 'fix' every animal), compassion fatigue, and performing euthanasia (sometimes many in one day). Remember - for you as the customer, you are one person in the veterinarian's day....however, for the veterinarian, you are one of many people they are dealing with on a daily basis.
We need to reduce the stigma involved in seeking help! Despite perceptions, seeking help is not a sign of weakness - rather, it is a sign of strength. Being able to recognise, and acknowledge, you are not coping takes an incredible amount of courage. Reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, or health professional is one of the best things you can do to get the help you need and start your healing journey. You're worth it!!
You can show your support to your veterinary team by being a little more understanding and respectful. We understand it can be very stressful for you and your pet when having to go to the vet, however, please remember it is also very stressful for them too! Making unrealistic demands on the veterinary team will not change the outcome for your animal - please respect they are the experts in animal health and wellbeing, and they are trying to do everything they can to help your pet.