- Veterinarian and founder of High Performance Vets, Dr. Natasha Wilks, will present this webinar on practical strategies for maintaining mental wellbeing in practice on Sunday, July 19th at 7.15pm.
- Zoetis to raise $100,000 in 2020 to support mental health in Australia. This will be the company’s fifth annual campaign, which will total $500,000 of donations since 2016
- Zoetis will donate $5 to Beyond Blue for every Zoetis product sold between 15th July and 31st October 2020, up to $100,000 to support mental health and wellbeing in Australia.
With COVID-19 restrictions putting vet practices under increased operational and financial stress, the need for mental health support has never been more important. Worryingly, research shows that on average, an Australian vet dies at their own hand every twelve weeks, four times the rate of the general population.
“While hugely rewarding, the veterinary profession also entails numerous challenges to mental health that necessitate the need for proactive management. These can include long hours, euthanising animals, delivering bad news to pet owners, emotional blackmail from clients who can’t afford to pay their bills and even violence at the hands of customers,” says Dr Wilks.
Speaking from personal experience and as a veterinary career coach, Dr Wilks’ webinar will offer a range of advice to help vets identify and manage mental health concerns. She adds: “We spend our entire days helping others, so we sometimes forget that it’s OK to let someone else help us. For me to reach out and admit that I wasn’t coping was the first step, which is where the webinar will start.”
The online session, held by the Australian Veterinary Association and Zoetis, will discuss the importance of maintaining your mental health, the signs you may not be coping, how to get help and the key strategies to improve your wellbeing.
This webinar is part Zoetis’ annual campaign within which they will donate up to $100,000 in 2020 to mental health organisation, Beyond Blue, to help provide online and phone counselling services and referrals nationwide. Now in its fifth year, the campaign aims to reach half-a-million dollars in donations made to mark the fifth year of the partnership.
“We are very passionate about improving mental health, especially among vets, and are proud to partner with Beyond Blue to tackle these very real issues, which is why we have reprised our annual commitment to donate $5 from every product sold between 15th July and 31st October 2020 to reach our $100,000 fundraising target this year” said Lance Williams, Zoetis’ Senior Vice President for Australia and New Zealand
“To date, Zoetis’ donations across veterinary and rural farming initiatives have allowed over 8,000 people, including vets, to get the help they need through the Beyond Blue Support Service and we are hoping to help more people this year,” he adds.
Since the partnership between Zoetis and Beyond Blue started in 2016, calls to the Support Service have increased by 20 per cent, and the number of people calling for help is expected to be even higher this year. In April alone, Beyond Blue experienced a 60% increase in contacts from people in all walks of life, compared to the same time last year.
“The Support Service is funded by generous donations and offers people a free, life-changing and sometimes life-saving service, 24 hours a day – via phone, web chat or email – whenever they need someone to talk to,” said Beyond Blue CEO Georgie Harman.
The Beyond Blue Support Service costs on average $48 per contact with counsellors available by phone, webchat or email, meaning Zoetis’s kind donation will help over 2,000 people get the assistance they need through the service.
In addition to the Support Service, Beyond Blue’s online resources and programs can help people turn their lives around, with more than 100,000 people using Beyond Blue’s online forums every month, tapping into an online peer support network offering people connection and assistance from others who have been through similar experiences. The forums are monitored by a team of moderators who are trained to identify people at high risk of distress and suicide and help them to access the help they need.
“We are very grateful to have the ongoing backing of Zoetis and look forward to working together so our Australian vets can access the mental health care they need. They help our loved ones, now let’s help them,” said Ms Harman.
To attend the webinar, register for VetFest 2020 at www.vetfestava.com.au
For more information on how you can help Zoetis to raise vital funds to encourage mental health through its partnership with Beyond Blue please visit zoetis.com.au
Mental health professionals are available 24/7 at the Beyond Blue Support Service – 1300 22 4636 – or via beyondblue.org.au/get-support for online chat (3pm-12am ADST) or email (within 24 hours).
 Suicide in Australian Veterinarians by Jones-Fairnie, Ferroni, Silburn, Lawrence, Australian Veterinary Journal