Forum From The Archives: Mental Health Issues Among Veterinarian 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, pet ownership in the United States rose by 70% 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.

This segment originally aired on March 8, 2022.


Dr. Susan Cohen, social worker, Dr. Cohen runs support groups for veterinarians and animal welfare workers; former director of counseling, the Animal Medical Center in New York City

Dr. Melanie Goble, founding board member, Not One More Vet -- a nonprofit organization devoted to helping the veterinarian medical community with mental health issue; practicing veterinarian

Jennifer Scarlett, president, San Francisco SPCA; veterinarian

Dr. Cherese Sullivan, president, Multicultural Veterinary Medical Association; practices general veterinary medicine