Inside AAHA September 2022

AAHA board member Scott Driever, DVM, talks about supporting mental health in the practice. Log in to the AAHA Community to join the conversation with other AAHA practice team members.

View from the Board

Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”—Ian Maclaren

Improving and supporting mental health in veterinary medicine is a huge, nebulous topic with no simple answers. Many of us either have firsthand knowledge of mental health challenges or know someone who struggles. Our profession is both blessed and cursed with tasks that can either help or hurt our mental health. The entire team of the hospital faces these unique challenges every single day. We are all affected by compassion fatigue and other mental health challenges, so we need to be sure to include the entire team in the discussion.

Mental health has come a long way in society over the past few decades, and while we in veterinary medicine are benefitting from these advances, we still have a long way to go. Whether it is reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health disorders and allowing more people to seek help or having better management strategies, we have made great strides since I started in this profession. We now know that we can do better than to expect people to simply “tough it out.” I don’t have any more insight than anyone else; I just know that we can continue to improve how we handle this sensitive topic and support each other along the way.

This month’s Trends also includes the topic of nutrition. While the article deals with nutrition for animals, our own nutritional needs should not be ignored. I believe our mental health can directly affect our physical health and vice versa. The better we eat and focus on feeding our gut with the “good stuff,” the healthier we can feel. The better we feel, the better chance we have of helping our mental state. The better our mental state, the better we take care of our physical self. It is a circle of care that can lead to better health, both mental and physical.

Hippocrates is credited with saying: “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food.” Not bad for someone born 2,400 years ago. We know that the first medications came from nature, but today this idea goes beyond plants being medicine and looks into the microbiome and how that affects our day-to-day health. I am by no means an expert on this topic, but I am intrigued by some of the research being done and how important our nutrition is to both our mental and physical health.

I try to do a better job of eating what I know I am supposed to eat, such as fresh foods in smaller portions, albeit with varying success depending on the day. Knowing and doing are very different ends of a continuum. Like most things in life, taking that first step toward better health will see us becoming an improved version of ourselves. We must give ourselves the grace to not be perfect. Attempting to do better is healthy, attempting to be perfect is not. We all need to remember that every journey starts with the same thing. A single step.

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Scott Driever, DVM, is a director on the AAHA board. Driver is a Houston native who received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Texas A&M University in 2000. Upon graduation, he moved back to Houston and began his veterinary career at Animal Hospital Highway 6 in Sugar Land, Texas, where he became a partner in 2005. In 2015, he purchased the rest of the practice and became a sole owner. His wife, Susan, is the office manager at the practice.

 

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AAHA_Community_4.pngLog in at community.aaha.org for Hot Topic Tuesdays!

HOT TOPIC: De-escalationand active listening training

AAHA Community question:

Does anyone offer de-escalation and active listening training for their CSRs and other team members who face frustrated clients? Would you be interested in more resources about this topic?

Responses from AAHA Community members:

  • We offer this training and have great resources to share ………….5%
  • We don’t offer this training but would love access
    to resources to do so ………………………………………………………………..82%
  • We offer this training but could use some additional help ………..14%
  • We don’t see a need for this training right now …………………………..0%

 

This month in AAHA’s Publicity Toolbox . . .

Here are the downloadable social media images available for AAHA-accredited members at aaha.org/publicity:

  • Animal Pain Awareness Month
  • National Happy Healthy Cat Month
  • National Service Dog Month
  • National Disaster Preparedness Month
  • Deaf Dog Awareness Week September 18–24
  • World Rabies Day September 28

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