RVN and Vetlife supporter Robyn Lowe has set up a walking group for the veterinary community via the Veterinary Voices Facebook page. In this Q&A, Robyn shares her motivation behind the group, and why getting out and about can make all the difference.
What made you set up the group?
I have long enjoyed walking and hiking; it has been something I have loved from a very young age. I am also acutely aware of how much exercise of any form benefits my mental and physical health. I am a passionate advocate for mental health awareness for the veterinary profession and since joining the administrative team at Veterinary Voices I have had a privileged and unique insight into the extent of mental health burdens within our beautiful profession. I also noted that due to the Covid 19 pandemic many people have been split from their family and friends for a prolonged period of time causing isolation and loneliness.
I am aware I cannot fix all the factors, of which there are many, that influence these sad statistics but one thing I can do alongside some wonderful friends and colleagues is set up a hiking group with the aim to get our profession back in the fresh air, exercising, meeting up for local walks and forging connections, friendships and support systems in the local area and across the UK via our Facebook group.
What is your goal for the Vet Voices hiking group?
When I first asked Danny and Paul, trustees of Vetlife, about the idea I just wanted to have a friendly, accessible group that we could chat about our walking, hiking and mental health. Ultimately, I would love to see veterinary professionals meeting up locally and as part of our organised events to meet new friends.
Who can join?
One thing I do want to encourage is any ability of the veterinary team joining in; by no means this is an elite hiking group. We would love to see local vet parents going from pram walks, dog walks, hikes and wheelchair accessible routes being planned where possible.
When and where will the walks take place?
We have a walk near Ullswater planned for late February, join our Facebook page for more information on this.
Over the year we will publish more and also encourage people to locally advertise walks they are going on if they want company.
How can I donate to the Vetlife fundraiser?
We have set up a Just Giving page that you can donate to if you like this concept, but also have made it a Team page meaning you can join it and raise money through your own local events and challenges as part of the Veterinary Voices Hiking Group.