The Impaired Veterinarian: Recognizing Depression & Possible Suicide | Veterinary Team Brief: So when a study reported that UK veterinarians had a higher suicide rate than the normal population—up to 4 times higher than the general population and 2 times higher than healthcare professionals—it rocked our veterinary community. Then the story went viral and global (receiving broadcast media attention),2-6 putting veterinary schools, the AVMA, on alert.
In a recent study, authors surveyed SCAVMA members, licensed Alabama veterinarians, and U.S. veterinary association executive directors. The results? Depressing.
Of those surveyed, 88% to 96% believed that veterinary medicine is very stressful, with stress increasing over the past 10 years; 19% of veterinary students had been diagnosed with mental illness and 40.7% had a family history of drug addiction or alcoholism; 95% of executive directors believed there is a serious problem of burnout, and 40% knew of one or more veterinarians who had committed suicide in the previous 3 years.