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The Critical Importance of Wellbeing in the Veterinary Profession

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The Critical Importance of Wellbeing in the Veterinary Profession

The Importance of Well-Being in the Veterinary Profession

When it comes to well-being, achieving a state of health and happiness is a deeply personal experience for many people. This is especially true in the veterinary profession, where the demands of daily practice can make it difficult to prioritize personal and professional well-being.

According to a 2020 study from the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC), veterinarians experience significantly higher levels of exhaustion, compassion fatigue, anxiety, and depression compared to the general population. Additionally, women in the profession reported even higher levels of stress, exhaustion, and mental health issues.

Despite these challenges, there is a growing awareness of the importance of well-being in the veterinary profession. Joanne Hewson, associate dean of Students and Academics at OVC, is optimistic about the shift towards prioritizing well-being. She believes that the profession is adopting a more holistic approach to mental health, which will benefit future generations of veterinarians.

To address the issue of well-being, OVC has incorporated wellness topics directly into the curriculum. Students are introduced to domains of well-being as part of their coursework, and resilience skills training has been a key focus since 2016.

Gordon Lo, an OVC student who recently completed his studies, found the focus on resilience and well-being to be incredibly valuable. He realized that resilience is not just about mental health, but also encompasses financial and physical well-being.

In addition to academic programs, ongoing research is examining the mental health status of veterinarians. Andria Jones, a professor at OVC, is leading a project to assess and improve the mental well-being of veterinary students and recent graduates in Canada.

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The importance of mental health in the veterinary profession is being recognized internationally as well. In Spain, initiatives have been launched to integrate veterinarians into comprehensive mental health programs. Platforms like HappyVetProject.org and The Sample Cloud are also providing resources and tools to address mental health challenges in the veterinary profession.

Overall, there is a growing awareness of the importance of mental health in the veterinary profession. By prioritizing well-being and addressing the unique challenges faced by veterinarians, the profession is taking important steps to support the mental health of its members.

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