A landmark Mind Matters-funded survey investigating the experiences of racism and the impact it has on the mental wellbeing of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people working or studying in the UK veterinary sector was launched on Tuesday 19 January.
The group of researchers leading the project are calling for as many participants as possible to get involved to help shape evidence-based interventions to promote diversity and wellbeing within the profession.
The project is funded by the RCVS Minds Matters Initiative’s Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant, which was set up in honour of RCVS Council member Sarah Brown who tragically passed away in 2017, with the aim of funding research focusing on mental health and wellbeing within the veterinary profession.
Led by Dr Victoria Crossley at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) and Navaratnam Partheeban, co-founder of the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society (BVEDS), the survey is being conducted by researchers from the RVC, BVEDS, Oxford Brookes University and London South Bank University.
The ‘Race Together’ survey – open for participation until 31 March 2021 – will examine both overt and ‘everyday racism’ in the veterinary profession. This includes systemic, commonplace interactions with people, services or systems that intentionally or unintentionally leaves individuals feeling racially judged in a covert or deniable way.
The survey is open to all BAME people working or studying in any part of the UK veterinary sector. This could include staff working in general and referral practices (including vets, veterinary nurses and support staff), staff and students working in vet schools, and those working within veterinary industry, government veterinary departments and veterinary charities.
Previous studies have shown that everyday racism is associated with negative effects on mental health and wellbeing. Despite concerns around poor wellbeing and mental health in the veterinary profession there has been little formal research investigating the impact of racism on mental wellbeing in the UK’s sector to date.
The project’s Principal Investigators, Dr Victoria Crossley (RVC) and Navaratnam Partheeban (BVEDS), are urging BAME people working or studying in any part of the UK veterinary sector to take part:
“This anonymous survey is open to all Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people working or studying in the veterinary sector, not only vets and veterinary nurses, and we would like to encourage people to take part and tell us about their experiences of racism, however ‘major or minor’.
“We hope that our project will increase awareness and understanding of the issues that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people experience while working or studying in the UK veterinary profession, and our findings will be used to inform the design of evidence-based interventions to promote diversity and wellbeing, and the monitoring of their effectiveness.”
Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters Manager, said:
“We are very glad to be able to support this important project, the first of its kind to look at the mental health impact of racism and discrimination in the veterinary professions.
“Diversity, equality and inclusion is a key strategic priority for the RCVS and hopefully this study will help identify some of the barriers and negative experiences that impact Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic veterinary professionals and develop the appropriate interventions both to tackle discrimination and improve mental health outcomes.”
Potential participants interested in taking part can access the survey and find further information here.