Looking after the veterinary profession

Vetlife Health Support

The Programme's National Coordinator, Rory O'Connor, provides confidential advice and treatment to those suffering from mental health and addictive disease.  This is tailored to your individual needs and incorporates telephone advice, one to one counselling and referral to in-patient treatment and local support groups.

Contact 07946 634220 or healthsupport@vetlife.org.uk 

Please contact Rory O'Connor at Vetlife Health Support on 07946 634220 (7am to 10.30pm every day including weekends) or healthsupport@vetlife.org.uk.  Whether you are calling about yourself, a family member who is a veterinary surgeon, or a colleague, the same level of confidentiality will be afforded to you. 

Messages left on the answering machine will be responded to within two hours, including weekends.  Messages left overnight will be responded to by 9.30am the following day, including weekends.  

Do I have to disclose my name or say where I work?

No, you do not need to give full details to receive help or support, although you will be encouraged to do so.  It may take time to build a trusting, therapeutic relationship. You will be required to give full details if you need to be referred to a local or specialist service.

A personal story of recovery

"A few years ago, I was in a hopeless state with severe paralysing depression and anxiety, and was unable to carry out even basic daily tasks, let alone work as a vet. It seemed any return to 'normality' was impossible.I was also oblivious to the role drug use had played in my 'demise' and continued to use my drug of choice throughout my descent, believing it was helping me to cope. After all, my family and 'friends' were also regular drug users and seemed OK. I was convinced there was something else fundamentally wrong with me to end up in this state.  As my condition worsened, I was really struggling to keep it together on the work front and eventually realised I couldn't.  My head was always jumbled and I couldn't make decisions or be objective about anything.  Pretty soon I was jobless, on income support and on a cocktail of anti-depressants, anti-psychotics and sleeping pills prescribed by my GP. My call to Vetlife Health Support was to ultimately turn my life around.  They helped me to get and stay clean, arranged for me to 'see practice' in a 'friendly' environment as a stepping-stone to returning to the work place and, as I began to work again, they found me a mentor to support me in the early days.  Today I have my life back ... no, a new and better life!"

Support after a suicide in the workplace

In the event of a suicide, the National Co-ordinator of the Health Support programme will make contact at an appropriate time and at the earliest possible opportunity,  with:

  • the Practice or other workplace concerned
  • the veterinary school concerned
  • the family concerned, when appropriate

Following contact, the National Coordinator will:

  • communicate with a nominated person in the setting 
  • facilitate access to local specialist support services including the Samaritans and Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide Group
  • visit the Practice, the veterinary school or the family by agreement/arrangement of those concerned

 Thereafter, the National Co-ordinator will:

  • case-manage and assess needs as they arrive
  • determine by need the duration of contact 

See also:-
Stress, Anxiety & Depression
Addiction & Eating Disorders
Sickness & Disability