NEW YORK (September 29, 2020)—During National Suicide Prevention Month the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) 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), are releasing a new resource, After a Suicide: A Guide for Veterinary Workplaces. This new free guide will help support veterinary workplaces in the aftermath of an employee's death by suicide.
"Supporting veterinary medical professionals in the aftermath of a colleague's suicide is vital. Because suicide loss survivors can develop significant grief and even physical and mental health issues if not appropriately supported, postvention is a critical step and is actually part of suicide prevention. The appropriate handling of the aftermath of a suicide in a veterinary office can pave the way for a workplace culture that is smart about mental health," said Dr. Christine Moutier, AFSP chief medical officer.
"At a time when people across our society, including veterinarians and their staffs, are experiencing great stress, I am very grateful to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for their expertise and collaboration in developing this essential mental health resource for our members," said Dr. Douglas Kratt, AVMA president. "The guide will ensure that our members and their teams get the critical support they need in the event of a colleague's suicide death, and help to prevent future deaths by suicide."
"An employee's suicide has a deep and disturbing impact on survivors, including coworkers. Managers who have had to support and comfort employees in the wake of such a tragedy understand the importance of offering grief counseling and other actions to support employees, mitigate the impact of the trauma, and prevent further loss. After A Suicide: A Guide for Veterinary Workplaces is a valuable management resource and much-needed guide because it provides comprehensive, empathetic, and step-by-step responses to these devastating and heartbreaking events," said Michelle Gonzales-Bryant, CVPM, VHMA President.
Developed by experts in veterinary medicine, suicide prevention, and survivors of suicide loss in the veterinary medical community, the guide includes:
- best practices for how workplace leaders and staff should respond in the immediate aftermath of a suicide;
- guidance on 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 to identify and support members of the community who may be vulnerable and reduce the risk of suicide contagion.
To view the guide: https://afsp.org/veterinarians