September is National Suicide Prevention Month and Veterinarians in the U.S. are at an increased risk of suicide. This is a trend that has spanned more than three decades according to a new CDC study. The study highlights the need for veterinary professionals to recognize signs that a colleague may be at risk for suicide and to learn how to help them. We know that this trend doesn’t just affect vets, but also their staff as well. Self-care is important for everyone, however those in the animal welfare industry and who work with vulnerable populations like animals need to take special care.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention shares tools, resources and creative ways to have hard conversations with the people in your life. You don’t need special training to have an open, authentic conversation about mental health. Often, just talking about it can be the first important step in staying connected for yourself, or to someone else and helping get support or treatment if needed.
Some Quick Tips for Having a #RealConvo About Mental Health include:
- When someone is struggling, just listen
- Let the other person share at their own speed
- Don’t pass judgment or offer advice — just be there
- We all experience mental health differently, and that’s okay
- Check back in, and offer to connect them to help if they need it
If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273- 8255.