SAVMA program offers forum for mental health conversations

Nearly one in ten U.S. veterinarians may suffer from serious psychological distress, and more than one in six may have considered suicide since graduation, according to a 2015 study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). For some, that difficult journey began in veterinary school.

A group of veterinary students hopes to change that.

The Student American Veterinary Medical Association (SAVMA) has published a series of YouTube videos, entitled It’s OK, to encourage conversation about the mental health challenges veterinary students face. The project was launched March 21.

The series, born out of the results of a survey sent to SAVMA’s 14,000 members (4,000 responded) states, in so many words, that “it’s ok to talk about what you’re going through” be it anxiety, depression, and/or suicidal ideation.

In the video series, veterinary students, faculty members, clinicians, and family counselors share their experiences with suicide, depression, anxiety, and the daily struggles of being a working veterinarian or veterinary student.

While designed for veterinary students, the It’s OK series sets the stage for having practice conversations about this challenging topic.