AVMA and partners create post-suicide guide for veterinary workplaces

Published on September 29, 2020
Veterinary team members in clinic setting

A colleague’s suicide affects everyone. When someone you know or care about takes their life, it’s not uncommon to experience significant grief, and even physical and mental health impacts. In these circumstances, critical support is needed to help those left behind.

A new guide offers that critical support for veterinary team members. This free resource, After a Suicide: A Guide for Veterinary Workplaces, was created by the AVMA and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and released in partnership with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA), the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA), and the Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE). 

Developed by experts in veterinary medicine, suicide prevention, and survivors of suicide loss in the veterinary medical community, the guide provides critical tools to help veterinary workplaces recover after a suicide

  • Best practices for how workplace leaders and staff respond in the immediate aftermath of a suicide
  • Strategies for helping the workplace community grieve and cope in the short and long term
  • Tips on working with the media and community partners
  • Important information on how to safely memorialize employees, and how to reduce the risk of suicide contagion by identifying and supporting community members who may be vulnerable 

Released in conjunction with National Suicide Prevention Month, this guide supports the veterinary profession’s efforts to protect personal and professional veterinary wellbeing. It joins AVMA’s suicide prevention training, Workplace Wellbeing Certificate Program, self-assessment tools, and other important resources in our suite of wellbeing materials at avma.org/Wellbeing.

Help when you need it

Knowing when to reach out for help—and doing it—might be the most important part of an organization’s wellbeing plan. No one can do everything alone, and this is especially true where mental health is involved. If you believe that you or someone you know is in crisis, please get help immediately by calling 1-800-273-8255 or contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline’s Crisis Chat team. Find more wellbeing help resources here.


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