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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

OSU Tackles Veterinary Suicide Prevention

July 11th, 2019

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study in January that found suicide rates, when compared to the general population, were 2.1 times as high for male veterinarians and 3.5 times as high for female veterinarians.

This and recent news stories about veterinary suicide, have shined a much needed light on the problems of job stress and depression in the veterinary profession. As a result, private practices, corporate veterinary hospitals, the OVMA, and OSU are all facing the crisis and working to do something about it.

In the Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, in-house psychologist Alex Rowell is implementing several initiatives to address the issue, including weekly wellness and self-care emails, one-on-one counseling, and a class for students focused on self-compassion and leadership.

“I think we’ve brought it [mental health] out of the darkness,” Rowell said. “We’ve had conversations about stress, anxiety and suicide. They used to be very taboo. We used to look at it as some moral flaw. But now we say it’s OK to talk about it with someone.”

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