Zoetis Inc. has added seven new Personal Wellness Modules to VETVANCE, its free, web-based learning resource for the veterinary community. The new 2- to 3-minute video modules are a response to the growing body of evidence that veterinary professionals worldwide experience mental illness, depression, and suicidal tendencies at a significantly higher rate than the general population. The modules are part of Zoetis’ ongoing Commitment to Veterinarians platform.
A study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for example, found that among 10,000 working veterinarians, 6.8% of men and 10.9% of women showed signs of serious psychological distress, including feelings of hopelessness and worthlessness, since graduating from veterinary school. For comparison, in the general U.S. adult population, 3.5% of men and 4.4% of women show similar symptoms.
“Zoetis is deeply committed to addressing the increased risk for mental illness across the veterinary industry,” said Dr. Christine Jenkins, Chief Veterinary Medical Officer, U.S. Operations, Zoetis. “These new modules are designed to help prepare veterinary professionals to proactively recognize and address the warning signs. They represent just one of several recent steps we’ve taken to support the health and wellness of the veterinary community.” Zoetis is one of the only animal health companies to develop veterinary wellness content in this area and collaborates with the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges to support education focused on veterinary wellness.
A proactive approach to wellness
VETVANCE offers learning modules on a range of nontechnical topics that supplement the veterinary college curriculum. The new programs provide information and suggested techniques for enhancing personal mental health and wellbeing. They are narrated by Dr. David Bartram, Director of Outcomes Research, International Operations, Zoetis, who has spent much of his career conducting empirical research into health and wellness in the veterinary profession and has authored multiple articles on the topic. To further support this effort, Zoetis also has added links to online information and resources about mental health and wellbeing to VETVANCE.
“Veterinary students and practicing veterinarians alike are often exhausted and overly stressed, and typically don’t have time to find support after hours. The new VETVANCE modules are designed to provide a proactive approach to achieving mental health,” Dr. Bartram said. “Our intent is to raise awareness of mental illness in this community while simultaneously providing tools for earlier detection and prevention, so veterinarians can better manage the day-to-day challenges of their jobs.”