South Australian government pledges support for Sophie’s Legacy

30 Jun 2023


This week, the South Australian government announced $25,000 in funding to the Sophie’s Legacy initiative, a public awareness campaign supporting veterinarian mental health and wellbeing. The initiative aims to educate veterinary clients and pet owners on the importance of respectful behaviour and engagement with veterinarians and veterinary paraprofessionals.

One of the AVA’s key focuses for 2023 is veterinarian mental health and wellbeing. In 2021, we commissioned independent research by workplace mental health consultants SuperFriend to investigate mental health amongst the profession. This showed that veterinarians deal with personal mental health issues at a higher rate that the general population. Over half (66.6%) of veterinary respondents said they had experienced, or were experiencing, a mental health condition (compared to 61.8% nationally). More specifically, 41.6% of respondents to the survey indicated that they had experienced a mental health condition in the preceding 12 months.

Last year, the AVA launched THRIVE, an industry-led veterinary wellness initiative working towards measurable, positive change to mental ill-health within our profession

The Sophie’s Legacy Campaign was established by the family of Sophie Putland, a veterinarian who tragically died by suicide in 2021. They have identified that negative client interactions, client abuse and unrealistic demands are major contributors to poor mental health within the veterinary profession. Sophie’s parents, Gary and Kate Putland, formed Sophie’s Legacy to spread awareness about the potential ramifications of negative client interactions on vets and veterinary paraprofessionals. “The response to her story and the ‘We’re Only Human’ campaign has been exceptional both here in Australia and overseas,” say Gary and Kate. “However, there is plenty more work to do to improve the industry for vets, vet nurses and veterinary clinic staff.”

The South Australian State Government recognises the key role veterinarians play in SA’s $4.3billion livestock industry and companion animal care, and will work with the AVA and Sophie’s Legacy to promote better mental health outcomes in the profession. Sophie’s Legacy encourages members of the public to Take the Pledge to be kind to their vets and veterinary clinic staff.

For further information on Sophie’s Legacy visit