Making mental health a reality for us all

The AVA has stressed the need for investment in mental health in recognition of Mental Health Day on October 10, a pressing issue considering the global health emergency.

AVA President Warwick Vale said veterinarians bring a compassionate approach to their work, and when combined with long hours and high workloads this can cause problems with anxiety, burnout and suicide.

“It is vital that a quality primary health care service exists for all, to deliver a whole-of-society approach to health and wellbeing,” he said.

“As the world grapples with the current health emergency, the AVA strongly supports the call for more investment to make mental health a reality for all.

“We encourage everyone to tune in to your senses, your communities and stigma … to understand what’s going on with you and those around you.”

The association’s VetHealth initiatives support mental health, and include access to counselling, HR advisory and seminars relating to health and wellbeing.

The AVA’s Mental Health First Aid Training program helps staff to identify employees who may have mental health issues and provides pathways for them to seek help.

There is also a Graduate Mentoring Program which pairs newly graduating vets with experienced colleagues who can provide practical support, manifesting the aspirations of retiring Wingham vet John Dooley, who recently told The Veterinarian of the potential benefits of such initiatives.

“As a youngster you’ve got to be prepared to take up the cudgels, though it can be very difficult to speak up on your own behalf,” he said.

“Realistically, you should get a mentor … for youngsters to have a word with some old bastard is important, and I don’t use that word to cause any offence because they could be male or female.

“I think it’s very important to speak to somebody who has no vested interest in anything other than the welfare of the mentee.”

More information on the AVA’s programs can be found at

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