Help prevent suicide in veterinary medicine

Published on September 16, 2021
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If you believe that you’re in crisis, please get help immediately by calling 1-800-273-8255 or contacting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Chat team.

 

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, arriving during a turbulent period in our country that creates challenges for individuals on many levels, including physical and mental health. We know people are hurting, veterinarians included. Protecting the wellbeing of ourselves and our colleagues is a priority for veterinary professionals year-round, and this observance provides a reminder to continue stepping up our efforts.

Suicide prevention tools for veterinary professionals

AVMA provides a broad array of wellbeing and suicide prevention resources free to the profession. Here are just a few:

  • QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) suicide prevention training—This training is available at no cost to all veterinary professionals, and can help you save lives. It’s conducted entirely online and takes only about an hour.
  • ProQOL assessment—The Professional Quality of Life assessment is a widely validated, self-administered assessment tool that can be used as a guide to assess your balance of positive and negative personal and work-related experiences.
  • Post-suicide toolkit for veterinary workplaces—This toolkit provides veterinary workplaces with the resources needed to respond immediately in the wake of an employee’s suicide death, help the community begin to heal, and return to their primary mission of caring for their patients and community. A similar toolkit is available for veterinary colleges.

In addition to offering these and other resources at avma.org/Wellbeing, the AVMA is partnering with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, other suicide prevention experts, and the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) to develop resources specifically for the veterinary community.

We also convened allied groups for a roundtable on suicide contagion. One way to help prevent suicides is to be aware of how we talk about suicide—how we respond to and talk about suicides can make a difference in saving lives. The recent roundtable helped ensure that we’re all working in tandem on this important initiative. In this video, find out more about what suicide contagion is, what can influence it, and what we can do together to help prevent it.

Each individual and organization has a role in preventing suicide in veterinary medicine. AVMA will keep working alongside you to spread hope through our profession.

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