2021 Veterinary Wellness Stakeholder Research Report
Veterinary Wellness Stakeholder Research Report now available
A message from the AVA President, October 2021
As you are aware, over the course of this year the AVA has been building on our previous endeavours, and that of the wider profession, to work towards a sustainable model for measurable, positive change to mental ill-health within our profession.
We all share something of enormous value in common, and that is a great love of our profession and the desire to improve mental wellness to secure enjoyable and sustainable veterinary careers for not only ourselves, but for future generations. This is critical, and it is at the top of the AVA’s strategic priorities. The tragic effects of poor mental health experienced by too many of our peers, is leaving a gaping hole in the heart of our profession - a hole which I believe can and must be filled.
Our determined and carefully plotted path towards implementing a comprehensive and relevant mental health strategy has involved partnering with SuperFriend - an organisation that specialises in designing and delivering mental health initiatives - to assist us in developing a holistic, comprehensive veterinary wellness strategy that will support the entire industry.
You will recall that the initial stage of our strategy development involved SuperFriend conducting a literature review and desktop analysis to define the current state of play within the industry. From the information gained through this analysis, we then tailored focus group discussions and one-on-one interviews with stakeholders from all corners of the profession, to gain detailed information on psychosocial risk and protective factors that exist; an increased understanding of the key barriers and enablers to addressing mental health, and a broader representation of the ideas and opinions on the issues that exist, as well as identifying potential solutions.
The next vital step involved conducting a stakeholder survey to draw from the collective experience of the entire profession. Now, following the completion of our extensive research activities, SuperFriend has synthesised the collected insights from all stages of the project and provided us with a stakeholder report for consideration and appropriate action.
This report now provides us with the informed and representative data essential to developing an effective strategy. Our next steps will be to review the recommendations from this report in the context of our current landscape, and in combination with other data collected by the wider profession, develop a strategy capable of affecting the positive change essential to improving mental wellness within the profession, and in turn, facilitating sustainable and thriving careers.
As I have said many a time, there is no doubt in my mind that in order to succeed on this path so vital to the profession, a collaborative approach is essential. It will require all members from all corners of the profession to come together, and it will require each individual to reflect, and act on, how they can personally facilitate change for the betterment of the whole.
As the original founders of the AVA stated, “We are better together than alone”. It is true of almost everything we do as veterinarians, and it is particularly true for this journey towards improved mental wellness for us all.
Dr Warwick Vale