We have heard on the news and read where the rate of suicides among Veterinarians is 4 times higher than those reported of the general community. That’s twice as likely as a dentist or and other medical practitioners. This upside of their jobs is getting to be around animals all day but the downsides can be overwhelming. The profession is finally starting to talk about these sad statics. In the last decade, there has been an explosion of research into mental health and suicide within veterinary medicine.
Numerous high-profile suicides have shaken the veterinary community in the last few years. In 2014, Dog training pioneer Dr. Sophia Yin took her own life, as did New York City veterinarian Dr. Shirley Koshi, bringing the topics of job stress and mental health to the forefront of professional conferences.
One of the first mental health surveys of U.S. veterinarians, conducted in 2014 by Dr. Randall J. Nett and Dr. Tracy Witte, found one in six veterinarians may have considered suicide, and one in 10 have experienced serious psychological distress. Having access to the perfect suicide means [horse tranquilizers] and the knowledge of how to use them for personal use does not help either.
There are 4 major reasons this is happening in the field of Veterinarian medicine.
4 Reasons Veterinarians Commit Suicide
- Their student loan debt is astronomical yet their salary compares to a pharmacist.
- Veterinarians are many times targeted by hate mobs on the internet with threats when they don’t get the results they expected. One client was so mad that she tried to destroy a vet’s reputation online with 85,000 hits. The vet went bankrupt and committed suicide.
- Veterinarians deal with death and loss every day. They will all tell you how emotionally draining it is to put down an animal and some times it isn’t even necessary. This trauma also brings on ethical conflicts in the mind of the vet. It is even harder when the vet has seen the pet since birth. This affects the entire staff many times.
- Owners get ugly many times when a vet has to tell them the costs involved. The doctor has student loans, a business, staff, medical supplies, and very high insurance to pay. The public just sees an animal and feels they are being scammed.
A study by Tomasi et al, “Suicide among veterinarians in the United States from 1979 through 2015,” appeared in the January 1, 2019 edition of the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The Tomasi team discovered 398 deaths by suicide among death records for 11,620 veterinarians, 79% of the suicides having come among clinical practitioners. Among the suicides were 326 men and 72 women.
Tomasi et al mentioned, veterinarians often suffer from “exposure to occupational stressors. Veterinarians working in clinical medicine, particularly companion animal medicine,” Tomasi et al explained, “are exposed to high levels of occupational stress related to long working hours, client expectations, unexpected outcomes, communicating bad news, poor work/life balance, high workloads, rising veterinary care costs, professional isolation, student debt, and lack of senior support.”
Ref. cracked.com, horsenetwork.com, animals24-7.org
Photo courtesy of Bing via veterinarianpracticenews.com