Dr. Kristina Keifer reached out to me recently. Her email was simple and to the point. “I’m in vet med and veterinarians are in trouble.” I was intrigued and looked up some statistics on my own. Nearly 400 veterinarians died by suicide between 1979 and 2015, according to a CDC study published in January that analyzed more than 11,000 veterinarian death records in that timeframe. The study also found that female veterinarians are up to 3.5 times more likely to kill themselves than members of the general population.

She then introduced me to her friend and colleague, Dr. Kimberly Pope-Robinson who has spoken many times about this subject and is the author of the book “The Unspoken Life,” detailing what vets need to do to stay stable. I can tell you these two are a dynamic duo and told me things about the vet profession I’d never have believed.

Even if you’re not a vet, many of us have pets and put our trust in them implicitly. Or so I thought. What vets contend with on a regular basis – from completely erratic schedules to problems with the people who bring their pets – or sadly, dump their pets on a vet. I do want to give a trigger warning for any of you who might be pet lovers – some of what they discuss might anger you. But I was also delighted to learn of efforts to help these animals who have no voice. But also to support those in vet med in their own mental health struggles. You might think it’s euthanasia that’s the problem. But it’s much more.

So in this episode, sponsored by BetterHelp, let’s learn more about the life of someone in vet med and the struggles they have.

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Statistics on veterinarian suicide

You can hear more about mental health and many other topics by listening to my podcast, SelfWork with Dr. Margaret Rutherford. Subscribe to my website and receive one weekly newsletter including my weekly blog post and podcast! If you’d like to join my FaceBook closed group, then click here and answer the membership questions! Welcome!

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