Mind Matters International

In recognition that poor mental health is an issue that affects the veterinary profession right across the world, in 2018 the RCVS joined forces with the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and agreed to collaborate under the banner Mind Matters International by both signing up to a joint statement.

Since then, we have been delighted that the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe, World Small Animal Veterinary Association and the American Association of Veterinary State Boards have signed up to the statement and committed to its intent.

By signing up, organisations commit to protect and support the mental health and wellbeing of their own veterinary professionals, and prevent future situations that may exacerbate poor mental health.

They also agree to join a group of like-minded organisations who are prepared to work together to make a real difference to veterinary mental health through:

  • Advocacy – when promoting the benefits of positive mental health, joined up voices carry further
  • Research – funding for research is always limited – the more we pool our resources and share results, the more we can all benefit
  • Sharing of best practice – the issues are too pressing for us to reinvent the wheel. By sharing what has worked, so that others can adapt and adopt, we will get there quicker!

What are the benefits of committing to the statement?
By being part of Mind Matters International you can underline to your veterinary community that you are serious about supporting their mental health, and, through working together, we can all amplify our national efforts and make further-reaching change happen.

We recently held our first Mind Matters International roundtable, on the impact of Covid on mental health in the veterinary community and a short report will be published soon.

How can we sign up?
Any regulatory or representative body that operates within the veterinary profession at national, multinational or international level is eligible to sign up.

You will need to answer a short series of questions about how you and your organisation currently prevent poor mental ill-health within the veterinary team, protect those who may face circumstances that might adversely affect their mental health, and take steps to support those who may be struggling.

You will also be asked to outline any future plans that you may have, as we recognise that not all organisations will be running at the same speed in terms of what has already been achieved: intention to have a positive effect is most important.

The responses to the questions will be reviewed by representatives from the RCVS and the AVMA before it is agreed that the organisation can become a co-signatory.

In addition, each year you will provide a short report on what your organisation has done to support the mental health of the veterinary profession in your country, which will be shared with other co-signatories.

What does it cost?
There is no fee to sign up. In the future there may be in-person meetings where participants would be expected to cover their own costs. There may be costs attached to joining particular projects or initiatives as these develop, for example, putting money into joint research projects, or sharing development costs for an app.

How does my organisation apply to commit to the Mind Matters International statement?
Please fill out this application form on behalf of your organisation.

For more information, please contact Lizzie Lockett on l.lockett@rcvs.org.uk.

RCVS CEO Lizzie Lockett (left), and AVMA Director of Member Wellness and Diversity Initiatives, Jen Brandt

RCVS CEO Lizzie Lockett (left), and AVMA Director of Member Wellness and Diversity Initiatives, Jen Brandt