The proposed activities are based on two models; the Onelife program in Western Australia (coordinated by Dr Brian McErlean) and the Vetlife Program in the UK (supported by the British Veterinary Association).
The Onelife program was primarily an education to create an awareness of the need for change in individual behaviour and attitudes common in the profession. A “gatekeeper” system was created where individuals with regular contact with veterinarians were trained in the signs of poor mental health and encouraging help seeking behaviours. A “gatekeeper” program is integral to the success of improving gneral mental health in the profession.
From the Vetlife program the concept of a dedicated veterinary helpline is derived. The purpose of a helpline is to provide immediate support to any veterinarian seeking it whether a result of a distressing event or for suicidal ideation. A training program will be established for those who are members of the helpline and similarly ongoing support will be provided to those individuals.
In summary an education program available to all veterinarians (and staff), a “gatekeeper” structure and a dedicated helpline will be established.
A variation on the above two models is vetlifeaustralia will also conduct two day courses (seminar/workshops) for veterinarians and staff. These are based on cognitive behaviour theory and individuals acquire the skills to reduce workplace stress (and burnout) and achieve greater career satisfaction. The skills acquired are also applicable beyond the work environment and are useful for all aspects of life. For more information see resources in the main menu.