The impact of a life lost to suicide is devastating and many veterinary communities have been touched by suicide loss, or the pain of suicidal thoughts.
This World Suicide Prevention Day Vetlife is sharing guidance for veterinary communities on small steps which may help towards prevention.
- Ensure workplaces are safe and supportive spaces for people experiencing health conditions. Sometimes veterinary professionals can fear consequences of disclosing mental health conditions. We need to ensure it is safe for them to do so and that they know they will receive an effective and supportive response.
- Ensure support for veterinary professionals who have experienced a complaint, and be aware that what may seem like a small issue to someone outside the situation can be experienced as life changing if someone starts to fear the loss of their vocation.
- Reach out to people who are going through difficulty. It can be difficult for veterinary professionals to ask for help, and it isn’t enough to wait for people to ask.
- Support veterinary professionals and members of the veterinary family who are bereaved by suicide. Losing someone to suicide, even for people who did not know the person well, can have a profound impact, and support for that grief and for potential health consequences that may be experienced later, is vital. People may have different needs so be flexible and don’t put a time limit on support.
- Know that small acts can make a difference, even when things feel overwhelming, an act of kindness, a listening ear, and a space that is safe and non-judgemental can help.