Suicide prevention: You can make a difference

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Getting help: Knowing when to reach out for help—and doing it—might be the most important part of your wellbeing plan. No one can do everything alone, and this is especially true where mental health is involved. 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’s Crisis Chat team. Find more resources here.

Knowing the facts about suicide can help save a life. Throughout September, the AVMA recognizes Suicide Prevention Awareness Month to help inform veterinary teams about suicide prevention and the warning signs of suicide. As a community, we can both support and gain strength from each other.

Watch and learn

What should you say if you’re concerned that someone you know is contemplating suicide? Or is it better to say nothing at all?

Experts stress that remaining silent is not the answer. To help address questions like these, the AVMA developed a series of short videos in which AVMA’s wellbeing director answers commonly asked questions about suicide.

Two of the three videos debunk common myths about suicide:

A third answers the question: When should I worry about my own suicidal thoughts?

Other questions answered in the video series include what to do if someone tells you they're contemplating suicide, what terminology to use when discussing suicide, and how to help prevent suicide contagion. View the additional videos on AVMA’s YouTube channel.

Focus CE on wellbeing and suicide prevention

Another way you can participate in Suicide Prevention Awareness Month is by taking one of several AVMA Axon webinars related to suicide prevention and wellbeing. Topics include:

For a deep dive into how you can integrate wellbeing initiatives into your workplace, consider participating in the Workplace Wellbeing Certificate Program. Topics covered in the certificate program include creating a culture of wellbeing, giving and receiving feedback, transforming conflict, promoting diversity and inclusion, and preventing suicide through gatekeeper training.

For the full library of Axon webinars related to wellbeing, diversity, and inclusion, visit

Listen in

AVMA’s My Veterinary Life podcast added two new episodes in September related to suicide prevention:

  • Kate Parker, a manager and partial owner at a Colorado animal hospital, discusses a counseling program she started at her clinic that brings in counselors and pays for staff to have sessions. Listen now.
  • Dr. Will McCauley, director of veterinary biologics with the Animal Health Institute, shares how he contemplated suicide and how volunteering and finding his place in veterinary medicine helped him. Listen now.

Gatekeeper training and more

These resources support AVMA’s existing wellbeing and suicide prevention tools. One of these tools is a gatekeeper training program, or QPR suicide prevention training. This one-hour training conducted entirely online is free for AVMA and Student AVMA (SAVMA) members. People without professional mental health backgrounds will learn how to recognize the signs that a friend or colleague may be considering suicide, and offers simple, effective questions to guide them to seek professional help. Learn to identify and refer at-risk colleagues by getting started at

Veterinary wellbeing, both personal and professional, is a key focus of the AVMA, and we encourage you to visit this month—and throughout the year—to explore all our resources for veterinary professionals, from self-care and assessments to workplace wellbeing programs and more.


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