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Veterinary professionals are invited to gather round for our upcoming Mind Matters Campfire Chats

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Mind Matters Initiative is continuing its series of ‘Campfire Chats’ this autumn and winter, providing members of the professions with the opportunity to take part in informal discussions about some of the crucial issues affecting veterinary health and wellbeing.

The upcoming sessions are as follows:

  • Thursday 28 October 2021 at 7pm – Managing Mental Health and Menopause: with studies consistently showing that around 80% of those who go through the menopause experience negative physical and mental health effects, with around 30% of these being moderate-to-severe, this discussion will be an open and honest conversation about menopause, mental health and the professions. The panel comprises: Liz Barton, a SPVS board member and co-founder of WellVet and the Vet Mums Facebook group; RCVS Junior Vice-President Melissa Donald who last year wrote a blog dealing with some of the issues and taboos around menopause; and Nikki Ruedisueli, a veterinary nurse educator who is currently Head of Learning & Development at the BVNA.
  • Wednesday 17 November 2021 at 7pm – Combatting Climate Change Anxiety: it has become increasingly recognised that the physical dangers posed by the climate crisis is also having an impact on mental health, and so this session will focus on ways in which the professions can harness hope through positive action on climate and their connections with nature. The panel comprises: David Black, the Managing Director of the Paragon Veterinary Group and a Director of veterinary environmental group Vet Sustain; Alex Mullarkey, the founder of the Sustainable Vet Nurse Community and environmental campaigner; and Sue Stuart-Smith, a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author of The Well Gardened Mind, a Sunday Times bestseller.
  • Monday 29 November 2021 at 7pm – Men’s Mental Health: with research from the Mental Health Foundation showing that, in England, around 1 in 8 men has a common mental health problem, this discussion will focus on overcoming barriers that may exist to men recognising and seeking help for mental health conditions. The panel comprises: James Russell, Senior Vice-President of the British Veterinary Association, and a Vetlife board member; James Glass, a vet who has had his own experiences of a severe depressive disorder and is now studying for an MSc in the psychology and neuroscience of mental health; and Calum McIntyre, a final year student at the Royal (Dick) Veterinary School and President of the Association of Veterinary Students.
  • Monday 13 December 2021 at 7pm – Working Through Winter: working through winter can be heard and bring a whole host of other challenges to the veterinary professions, so this chat will consider how the season affects veterinary mental health and what can be done to overcome the winter blues. The panel comprises: Mark Tabachnik, an equine vet based in Cheshire who also works as a professional development coach; Claire Gillvray, a medical psychotherapist and general practitioner whose passion is helping people gain mental strength through exercise, meditation, yoga and therapy; and Kate Stephen, an experienced qualitative social scientist and project manager.

Angharad Belcher, Director of the Mind Matters Initiative, said: “After our very successful first run of the Mind Matters Campfire Chats, we have a number of new session topics, which were requested by delegates earlier this year. As always, we will continue to host experts and those with lived experience at each Campfire Chat.”

As with the previous events, the Campfire Chats aren’t about being lectured at for an hour but are an opportunity to hear from those with lived experience, expertise and also for our audience to share their experiences, worries or life hacks. So please make sure to grab a mug of your favourite hot drink and join us.”

All the events are free, and members of the professions can sign up via the Mind Matters website at: www.vetmindmatters.org/events/