Help needed? Not sure? Afraid to admit it to yourself or others? Mental health problems start small and snowball – as with all the conditions we treat as vets, early intervention is best. Follow your own advice to clients and act sooner.
Need help now? Vetlife provide free confidential support 24:7 to vets and veterinary nurses. Contact them on 0303 040 2551 or click here to send a confidential email. SANEline is open 4.30pm to 10.30pm every day on 0300 304 7000, offering support for anyone affected by mental illness. Samaritans offer confidential support and advice 24:7 freephone 116123
Help in your local area – click here for Hub of Hope; signposts local MH services – you simply type in your postcode.
Textcare – regular supportive text service by the charity SANE. Simply click here to sign up.
Not sure if you need help? Click here for links to Mood tests – how ARE you REALLY?
Self-care – If you don’t look after yourself, you cannot look after someone else… or their pets… effectively. Self-care is vital; read this blog from Psychology Today: “Keep in mind that you can only help others if you’re helping yourself first, physically, mentally and spiritually. As much as we want to think desire and passion are enough, they’re not. You need a healthy body and an open mind to function, which aren’t present if you’re filled with self-doubt. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s definitely worth it.”
Helping someone else? Mental Health First Aid should be as important as Physical First Aid; click here for information on training. Has someone confided in you and you’re not sure how to help? Download a free comprehensive guide to helping someone with depression from the Blurt Foundation here. Or if you’re supporting someone with mental illness, call Black Dog Tribe for guidance, from 4.30pm to 10.30pm on 0300 304 7000
Helping Clients – One of the greatest challenges can be helping an animal patient when the mental health of their owner isn’t great. And nothing I was taught prepared me for that. Here’s a blog collating some great advice by Rosie Allister of Vetlife gave on a Facebook thread.
Wellbeing Guide produced by RCVS Mind Matters aimed at ANYONE interested in improving practice life – download for free
Wellbeing blog – Petra Agthe is a veterinary radiologist who wrote a charity blog weekly throughout 2017. The main aim of the blog was to spread the knowledge that we can all achieve a greater level of well-being; The Good Life Campaign. She’s now compiled all the blogs in an e-book. Have a read – there’s some great stuff! Click here
Loneliness – surprisingly common in vet practice due to the antisocial hours and loss of support network after graduating. Loneliness can adversely affect physical as well as mental health. Read more HERE
Ruminating on mistakes and problems is an addictive trait, with significant adverse effects on both emotional and physical health. Read more HERE
Picture from Monster Worldwide Inc.
Winston Churchill described his depression as the black dog that came and went throughout his life. Managing depression and living with someone with depression are brilliantly tackled in the Black Dog Youtube clips on the links. Work-related depression is tackled brilliantly in the attached blog. Or at the NHS website here.
Mindfulness – Mindfulness is a form of meditation – a mental state achieved by focusing on the present moment, calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Click HERE for mindfulness resources
Resilience – resilience is the capacity to maintain wellbeing and work performance under pressure. Click HERE for resilience resources
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – This is a talking therapy which aims to help you deal with problems in a more positive way by breaking them down into smaller parts. You’re shown how to change negative patterns to improve the way you feel. It can be done face-to-face, over the phone, or online, with both free and paid services. You have to be committed to the process, which may be challenging and uncomfortable at times. The NHS website has good advice, and a self-referral service, and an online self-help resource guide. The charity, Mind, summarises resources well.
Sleep – It’s important, but often lacking. That lack should not be hailed as a badge of honour as it adversely affects performance and safety for all concerned. Click here for sleep resources.
Physical activity – this is well known to reduce stress and improve mental health. Click HERE for Vetsports and get moving – a 10 minute walk in the fresh air can be a life changing first step.
Work-life Balance – BEVA has a great resource with news, blogs, CPD and podcasts on their wellbeing page
Or download this free e-book by resilience trainer Shari Khan: 7 Guaranteed Ways to Reduce Stress, Stop Feeling Overwhelmed at Work, and Get Your Life Back. It takes 20 minutes to read and has a simply step by step practical guide to improving your wellbeing.
Kindness – showing or receiving an act of kindness can improve both the giver and receiver’s wellbeing… and even save a life.
Mentoring – A fantastic support mechanism at any stage in your career. Good mentoring will not only provide a shoulder to lean on, but boost clinical confidence and help career progression. Click here for our mentoring and leadership guide
Leadership – not just for bosses! Leadership starts from the top down and the bottom up; it’s about collaboratively expressing ideas and bringing out the best in others. Hence, I’ve put leadership alongside mentoring resources as there is a lot of overlap; Click here
Employees – do you feel you are trapped or stagnating in a job with little control over your own destiny? Are your ideas for practice development sidelined or ignored? Read this great blog on LEADING UPWARDS by Caroline Pearson of Progressive Vet Consulting
Employers – Mental health problems cost employers in the UK £30 billion a year through lost production, recruitment and absence – so why aren’t we doing more about it? Read HERE about how you can help your employees, and improve productivity.
Students – Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity, “We want students to have the skills, knowledge and confidence to talk about their mental health and look out for their peers. We believe in peer support and deliver research-driven training and supervision to equip students to bring about positive change on their campuses through campaigning and facilitating peer support projects”.