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Jan. 12, 2023

It starts here: Student organization builds a culture of wellness

Warning: This story talks about suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, please call, text or chat the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988. You matter. You are important.

In the veterinary profession, mental health has been a critical topic for years; eight years have passed since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in 10 veterinarians have experienced “serious psychological distress” and one in 6 had contemplated suicide. That same year, Not One More Vet was founded to provide resources and support to the profession.

Today, the wellness discussion seems more pronounced than ever. In the face of heightened levels of burnout, devastating staffing shortages, serious misunderstanding and abuse from some clients, and student loan debts that skyrocket above those of previous generations, the professional community has taken long strides to name and identify what has become a profound crisis.

Many professional organizations aim to support their members by implementing health, wellness and balance into their practices. The American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges notes wellbeing as a priority in its strategic plan, the American Veterinary Medical Association publishes frequent and thorough looks at wellness issues faced by veterinary professionals, and the wellness conversation is well underway in veterinary magazines, podcasts, websites and on social media.

Wellness in veterinary medicine has to start at the beginning, however, and that would be at the student level.

The Veterinary Wellness Initiative, a student-founded-and-led organization at the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine, aims to build a healthy wellness culture at the first stage of the veterinary professional’s career.

For the full story, visit the College of Veterinary Medicine website.

By: Allison Hammerly