“Mental Health” was the motto of the Vet Mental Summit, which brought the veterinary community together in Lisbon. The debate around a topic considered “relevant to the veterinary profession” has contributed to the exchange of knowledge to prevent problems such as professional clothing, depression and anxiety. The meeting brought together experts from various fields to promote mental health and share knowledge in this area.
During the talks, several studies related to veterinary mental health were presented and a high level burn out and vulnerable depressive states suffered by the profession. “The profession with the highest suicide rateAccording to the results, it turned out that 29 respondents at least once tried to commit suicide, and 124 threatened to do so,” they explained.
Similarly, sleep deprivation in the veterinary community was also one of the big topics at the conference. Experts noted the lack of sleep in veterinarians. Vet Hugo Lopez stressed in his speech that “Vets don’t get enough sleep like they should”. He also presented strategies to minimize the impact of night shifts on the health of healthcare workers and improve the well-being of veterinarians, such as food and work breaks, and drew attention to the work of veterinary clinicsoften in violation of labor laws.
On the other hand, the speakers touched on the creation of a veterinary personal support room, a structured program to improve well-being and prevent situations of stress, anxiety and exhaustion common in veterinary medicine,assistance in creating time management strategies to align professional and personal lives“.
The issue of employability, one of the factors directly related to mental health, has also been the subject of debate. “Increase the support that every professional should have in their daily life, higher quality work recognized by societywith legislation that corresponds to reality are part of the solution,” they said.
“Fortunately, young people do not want to hold on to what we hold on to”
A veterinarian is overwhelmingly a self-employed professional who must balance the rhythm of his daily life with finding clients, continuous training, overtime, and the complications of the job such as running a business or emergencies, among others. Added to this is that a veterinarian does not have the prestige or respect enjoyed by physicians or other medical professions.nor the wages of those
Nuria TabaresA veterinary graduate and workplace coach, explained in an interview with Diario Veterinario that it is very important to learn how to balance personal life and professional life, because “long days can defeat us“.
The expert also noted the new times when mental health care prevails and notes that “fortunately, young people do not want to put up with what we put up with.It wasn’t normal.”
WORK SAFETY AND STRESS
The Spanish Ministry of Labor recently released a report that analyzes the impact of job insecurity and low wages on the mental health of workers, as well as risks or stressful situations.
The document warns of the need to develop labor relations regulations that are close todemocratic and truly sustainable production system within the framework of a fair material reduction and a circular economy”. In addition, it highlights the importance of employment protection by public administrations and that there is “comprehensive healthcare as a universal right.
With regard to the veterinary sector, a report presented by the Spanish Confederation of Veterinary Businesses (CEVE) in 2022 on the socio-economic and labor situation in this sector in Spain states that the situation is “really worrying because, according to the quarterly survey of labor costs conducted by the National Institute of Statistics (2022), the average net salary per month in this sector reached 1304.99 euros., moving away from the less valuable ones in the National Classification of Economic Activities (NCEA) set of activities, such as sports, recreation and entertainment, social services or assistance in residential institutions, which were very similar until 2019. In 2020 alone, this figure increased by 14.66% compared to the previous year, which is undoubtedly due to the signing of the first Collective Agreement for veterinary centers and services. Anyway, the monthly net salary for health activities (€2,165.16) at the end of 2020 was 65.91% higher than the salary for veterinary activities.Therefore, the industry has a wide field for improvement in this regard, in an effort to optimize the social, labor and salary conditions of its employees as much as possible.”
They also demanded for veterinary companies to guarantee a minimum wage for young peopleas it is very difficult for them to access a job as a veterinarian.