The Savvy VetTech

7 Mental Health Resources for Veterinary Technicians

by Flavia Vaduva - May 6, 2019 at 12:59 PM

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When I was working as a vet tech, I experienced a multitude of challenges. Maybe you have experienced some of these too. Between trying to make sure that all pets were cared for and that clients felt comfortable to making sure we all stayed safe and on schedule, I felt that getting through each day successfully was a real accomplishment.

But, at times, I also felt overwhelmed and exhausted. The job itself can be just as difficult as it is rewarding. I know the external factors that can make it tough and I also know and understand that there can be many internal factors that can make it even more difficult.

If you are a veterinary technician or a soon-to-be veterinary technician that is experiencing any mental health challenges,  please know that help and resources are out there.

Below is a list of 7 resource types I’ve come across in my research. Some are specific to veterinary professionals and some are more general. I encourage you to seek out any and all that may be helpful to you.  

1. AVMA Resources

The American Veterinary Medical Association has a section for Wellbeing and Peer Assistance.  There are many different types of resources that can be helpful such as a self-assessment, information about self-care, work-life balance and many other important topics. If you click on the “Get Help” link,  it takes you to this page called Get Help where there are many more resources listed under the “Veterinarians and other medical personnel” section. (3)

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2. Immediate Help

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 or by texting TALK to 741741. Please contact them immediately if you are in a state of crisis. (1)

3. Veterinary Team Resources

In an article by Dr. Michele Gaspar, it is stated that “Veterinary professionals may be more predisposed to mental health challenges than the general population. By recognizing this potential predisposition, practice team members can take specific, positive actions to help improve their mental health and wellbeing.”

By clicking this link,  AAHA article,  you can read the article and follow the steps to download a PDF from AAHA that is called “Guide to Veterinary Practice Team Wellbeing.” [2]

4. Private Appointments with Mental Health Professionals

In my opinion, it is a good idea to seek out mental health care with a private counselor, therapist or psychiatrist and/or other mental health professionals that you can meet with regularly. Having routine, consistent appointments with the same person or people can build feelings of trust, which are so important to working through mental health concerns.

5. Resources by State

On a state level, there may be some programs for wellbeing that are available to licensed veterinary technicians. It is stated that, “the AVMA Division of State Advocacy researched state laws and regulations that authorize or establish wellbeing programs for licensed veterinarians. Some programs cover other licensed veterinary professionals such as veterinary technicians. These laws and regulations vary in scope and mission; the programs can include peer assistance, professional recovery, dependency, impairment and diversion.” The link to this research can be accessed by clicking here:  State Wellbeing Programs for Veterinary Professionals (4)

6. National Resources

There are many organizations that are dedicated to supporting mental health awareness and suicide prevention. The National Association of Veterinarinary Technicans in America (NAVTA) lists some of the following organizations, such as the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI), on their site which can be acccessed here: NAVTA Wellbeing Resources  [1]

7. Support from Family and Close Friends

Maybe your family and friends are not in veterinary medicine so it’s hard to believe that they will understand how you are feeling. However, in my opinion, it is a good idea to at least reach out and share your feelings with them.  Maybe they can understand and help, or at least, provide some of the support you need.

Tackling mental health concerns is hard but it can be easier if you have a team so make sure you surround yourself with the resources, professionals and people that can help you. If you can think of others resources that may be beneficial to fellow veterinary technicians, please share them below!

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References:

  1. NAVTA wellbeing Resources. NAVTA. 
  2. Gaspar, Michele. “Why Veterinary Caregivers May Be Predisposed to the Challenge of Finding Joy and Fulfillment in Our Profession.” AAHA. 
  3. Wellbeing and Peer Assistance. AVMA. 
  4. State wellbeing programs. AVMA. 
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About Flavia Vaduva

Flavia Vaduva is a general practice Veterinarian and a blogger for VetTechPrep. She has a passion for veterinary medicine, education and business management. She really enjoys interacting with veterinary students and veterinary professionals. She spends her free time riding horses and traveling to explore new places!

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