Why Your Veterinarian, Your Other Family Doctor, Needs Your Support
Veterinarians have one of the highest suicide rates of all professions
Today I became a volunteer with Not One More Vet. In case you aren’t familiar with the organization, they provide support to veterinarians and veterinary students who are struggling or contemplating suicide. It’s hard to believe, but veterinarians have one of the highest suicide rates of all professions. My decision to join this organization was for personal reasons, and it didn’t come without lots of research. Diving into this, I found shocking statistics. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, 1 in 6 veterinarians have contemplated suicide. That statistic alone convinced me to sign up, somewhere, anywhere to help. Veterinarians, like human doctors, act in all capacities. They are Cardiologists, Dermatologists, Emergency doctors, and even Reptile and Exotic specialists. Some are on call 24 hours a day, and some have a more “normal” schedule. And like a human doctor, they have completed at least four years of vet school or 8 years for a specialty practice. The long road to becoming a veterinarian comes with a great monetary loss as well. The average spent for a veterinary education can be twice as much as a college education, another similarity to medical school. And similar to human doctors, they are very familiar with loss.
The loss of a family’s fur baby is a traumatic event for all involved. When it comes down to it, it’s the veterinarian that takes us down the road to saying goodbye. And on this worst day possible, they are there to be strong and show us support as we endure monumental heartbreak. Although most vets will tell you, it’s all in a day’s work, many secretly question their decision to practice veterinary medicine.
My goal, as they question their decision, is to let them know how essential their job is in this world, to the community. How cherished they are by many and how idolized they are by me. How, without them, my dog would walk around with my favourite pair of gold earrings in his tummy. Or a foot so big from a bee sting he needed his own version of an epi-pen to take down the reaction. We need our vets, and losing them from an illness that can be prevented is not okay with me. So next time you pay a visit to your local vet, tell them know how much you appreciate and support them. It doesn’t need to be a grand gesture. A simple “well done” or “thank you” can be enough. Just let them know you care, and let’s help make “Not One More Vet” a reality.