Mental health and well-being of veterinary professionals


Mental Health Awareness Week 8 - 14 May 2017

The veterinary profession has a relatively high suicide rate compared to other professions and the general public. Over the past decade RCVS Knowledge has added its support to initiatives investigating mental health issues, and permanent support services such as Vet Helpline.


Mind Matters Initiative

In December 2014, RCVS launched the Mind Matters Initiative, to help address mental health and wellbeing issues within the veterinary profession.

  • Understanding and supporting veterinary mental health. The first Mind Matters Initiative Research symposium, 19-20 January 2017. The sessions are available to download
  • Medical Minds Matter. The first Mind Matters conference, October 2015 looked at mental health within the medical professions, including veterinary, pharmacy, dentistry and human medicine. Conference summary report available to download


Blogs and discussions


Helplines and support services


References of recent publications

  • Hunt, G. (2017) Understanding and overcoming the effects of compassion fatigue within the veterinary profession. Veterinary Nursing Journal, 32 (5), pp. 141-143
  • Bonnema, L. (2017) A registered Veterinary Nurse's (RVN) secret struggle...: a short communication on mental health in the profession. Veterinary Nursing Journal, 32(3), pp. 63-65
  • May, S.A. (2017) Reflection and our professional lives. Companion Animal, 22(1), pp. 32-36
  • Assessing and addressing poor mental health in veterinary profession. Veterinary Times, 47(3), pp. 6-7
  • Kerrigan, L. (2016) Modelling compassionate veterinary nursing care - eight steps towards a more compassionate approach to patients, their owners and oneself. The Veterinary Nurse, 7(10), pp. 556-561
  • Mamo, E. (2016) Why creating a mentally healthy workplace is so important in veterinary practice. In Practice, 38(7), pp. 355-357
  • Hubbard, R. (2016) A veterinary focus on well-being. VN Times, 16(7), pp. 16-17
  • Halliwell, R.E.W. et al. (2016) Stress in new graduates: can the profession do more to help? Veterinary Record, 178(25), pp. 635-636
  • Bonner, J. (2016) Physician, heal thyself. Companion, May, pp. 24-27
  • Nett, R.J. et al. (2015) Risk factors for suicide, attitudes toward mental illness, and practice-related stressors among US veterinarians. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 247(8), pp. 945-955


More references are available to download from our 'Related documents' box.