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Mental Health Resources

Few will disagree that veterinary medicine is a rewarded career path. But it can also be a stressful, tiring, and rough one as well. Getting into (and completing) veterinary school, years of long hours and heavy workloads, dealing with demanding clients - all of these can wear a person down.

Many find it difficult to discuss personal stresses, feelings of being overwhelmed or depressed, and mental illness. Fortunately, more and more resources are becoming available to veterinarians to help cope with stressors such as burnout and compassion fatigue, as well as information on how to maintain mental health. The AVMA also has many great resources for wellness and peer assistance.

Locating a Mental Health Professional

Massachusetts Psychologists who see Veterinarians (Massachusetts Psychological Association)
Psychology Today Therapist & Counselor Search (tool to locate mental health professionals and treatment centers in the US and Canada)

Find a Psychologist (Massachusetts Psychological Association)

 

Self-Assessment and Warning Signs

Professional Quality of Life Scale (Steven Adelman, MD)
Finding Calm Amid the Chaos (AVMA)
The Impaired Veterinarian: Recognizing Depression & Possible Suicide (www.veterinaryteambrief.com)

Are You at Risk for Compassion Fatigue (www.veterinaryteambrief.com)
My Family Health Portrait (Surgeon General)
Are You Burned Out? (Integrative Veterinary Care Journal)


Compassion Fatigue and Burnout

Caring too much can hurt. When caregivers focus on others without practicing self-care, destructive behaviors can surface. Apathy, isolation, bottled up emotions, and substance abuse head a long list of symptoms associated with secondary traumatic stress disorder (now labeled Compassion Fatigue). Here are resources on recognizing and dealing with Compassion Fatigue.

Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project
Self-Compassion: A Healthier Way of Relating to Yourself
Fighting Compassion Fatigue in the Veterinary Profession (Veterinary Practice News)
Depression vs. Burnout (www.veterinaryteambrief.com)

 


Suicide in the Veterinary Profession

Read Massachusetts psychologist Dr. Lisa Livshin's article from the December 2015 issue of MassVet News on Depression and Suicide Risk in the Veterinary Profession.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (Call 800-273-TALK if you need to talk to someone)
Suicide Awareness in Veterinary Education - S.A.V.E. (University of Tennessee)
Suicide Prevention Resource Center
CDC Suicide Survey Results and Resources (AVMA)
Dealing with Your and Your Colleagues' Stress and Depression (VIN - Transcript and video)


Substance Abuse, Chemical Dependence, and Addiction

List of MA centers and programs for treatment of alcohol and drug addiction
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
Alcohol Rehab Information
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Gamblers Anonymous
DrugRehab.com 
and AddictionCenter.com

 

 

Peer Assistance and Wellness

Model Program for Wellness (AVMA)
MentalHelp.Net
Human Support in Veterinary Settings (AAHA)
Vets 4 Vets Group (VIN Foundation)

 

Additional Resources

It's OK Videos (For veterinarians and students by veterinarians and students - AVMA)
Collection of Ted Talks on the subject of Mental Health
22 stress-hacks that will change your life
Resources for Students
HelpGuide.org

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