On-farm conditions can vary greatly and can include responding to animal disease outbreaks. For example, 2022 brought an ongoing outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), also called bird flu or H5N1. Such incidents evoke difficult decisions, including depopulation, or humane endings for livestock. Farmers, veterinarians, and other agricultural professionals can experience tremendous stress and trauma during these events. There is a need to prepare individuals and communities facing depopulation and support them throughout and following an incident.
The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) recently published a Viewpoint on the Psychological implications of humane endings on the veterinary profession. The article emphasizes the mental health impacts of the profession of veterinary medicine, particularly the impact of making end-of-life decisions regarding animals. The Viewpoint, published in January 2023, lays out a Call to Action that includes a need to understand existing resources and ongoing research and to respond by addressing stigma, developing practical resources, and more.Read the Article
- Address negative stigmas
- Foster well-being through increased cohesiveness of the veterinary profession
- Provide practical resources to support veterinarians
- Education in veterinary curricula and clinical setting
- Education in the mental health professions