The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) has called on both major parties ahead of the federal election to commit $3 million over five years towards veterinary mental health.
Recent research into veterinary mental health showed that 66.6 per cent of respondents said they either have experienced or currently are experiencing a mental health condition, five per cent higher than the national average.
Dr Warwick Vale, President of the AVA, said while the veterinary profession is extremely rewarding, vets are often so busy looking after the community’s animals that they often don’t have time to look after themselves.
“This research backs up what veterinarians already know – our profession is not in good health and in order for us to serve the community we need a healthy thriving profession.
“I’ve been to too many funerals of colleagues, I’ve seen too many colleagues drop out of the profession, and I’ve seen too many colleagues break under the strain.”
The independent research commissioned by the AVA also showed that 41.6 per cent of surveyed vetenarians said they had experienced a mental health condition in the past 12 months.
The $3 million investment in veterinary mental health would support key elements including a public campaign to educate the community, whole of career mentoring, dedicated veterinary counselling services, and the development and delivery of veterinary specific education material.
“The AVA is investing in solving this crisis, but we can’t do it on our own – we need the next Federal Government to stand shoulder to shoulder with us and lend a supporting hand to our country’s veterinarians.”