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Mental Health Issues in Veterinary Medicine on the Rise

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Amy Ferrino, a doctor"u2019s assistant at the SPCA Veterinary Hospital, holds Lucy the dog after drawing a urine sample, Wednesday, on Sept. 22, 2021, in San Francisco, Calif. (Santiago Mejia/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

Veterinarians are nearly three times more likely than the general public to die by suicide, and one in six has contemplated taking their life, according to recent studies. The industry has never been under more stress: during the pandemic, one in five households adopted a new pet, and the demand for veterinary assistance has risen exponentially. But many veterinarians are leaving the profession because of intense workloads, crushing student debt,  hostile pet owners, and the trauma of euthanizing animals they’ve cared for from cradle to grave. We’ll talk about the mental health challenges veterinarians and vet techs are facing, and what can be done.

In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 and in Spanish at 1-888-628-9454. They offer Tele-Interpreter services in over 150 additional languages.


Dr. Jennifer Scarlett, president, San Francisco SPCA; veterinarian<br />

Dr. Susan Cohen, social worker; VIN Foundation Vets4Vets program

Dr. Cherese Sullivan, president, Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association; Dr. Sullivan is a practicing veterinarian.<br />

Dr. Melanie Goble, founding board member, Not One More Vet; Dr. Goble is a practicing veterinarian.


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