I joined the Mind Matters Initiative in May 2018, taking over its day-to-day running from Lizzie Lockett, MMI Director and RCVS CEO. Prior to this, I worked at a NHS Mental Health Trust in South London, where I worked with individuals with a mental health diagnosis, supporting them to access and sustain employment and advising employers on issues around mental health and the law.
Coming from a non-veterinary background, I came to MMI knowing only the headline statistics – the above average rates of suicide in the veterinary profession and the numbers of vets leaving clinical practice – and with a very superficial understanding of the kind of stressors vets and veterinary nurses might face in their work.
I took up my new role keen to take the knowledge and experience I’d gained throughout my career and apply it to the veterinary sector. However, it soon became apparent that my first and most important job was not to teach or to advise, but to listen to and learn from the profession. I’ve been grateful to the many vets and nurses who have taken the time to talk so honestly to me about the profession they love and are proud of – its nuances, the highs and lows and the unique challenges and opportunities that come with the job.
At any given time, one in four of us will have some kind of mental health problem. This means there is a good chance that we all know someone who is suffering right now, maybe in silence. The veterinary profession is not immune to this and indeed we know that there are very specific factors meaning they are even more vulnerable to depression, anxiety and stress.
Central to the Mind Matters Initiative is the belief that raising awareness, tackling stigma and improving access to support are all vital steps in addressing the rising incidence of mental ill health. I am impressed at the strides the Initiative has already made towards these ambitious goals and delighted to be part of its continued efforts.
To get in touch, contact me at email@example.com.