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Stress Awareness Month: Let’s talk about stress

April is Stress Awareness Month – and provides us with a good opportunity to discuss a topic that impacts many of us. Throughout April, we will be sharing a range of information and resources to raise awareness of stress, reduce stigma and dispel myths, to help support veterinary professions to thrive in their roles. This week we will shed light on what is meant by stress and burnout – two terms which are used interchangeably.  

What do we mean by stress? 

Throughout our lives at home and at work, we can all experience different types of stress, which the World Health Organization (WHO) notes ‘is a natural human response that prompts us to address challenges and threats in our lives’. In responding to stress, the human body releases a number of hormones to help us cope or act. Interested in learning more about the science behind stress? Find out what happens to your body when you’re stressed

Whilst there are often negative connotations associated with stress, the stress curve diagram from MindWell illustrates that some forms of stress can actually be good for us. In fact, optimal stress (also called ‘eustress’) can help us to be motivated and perform at our best. Particularly where we have the ability to rally the necessary resources and support, to cope with demands placed upon us (e.g. to get a task done by a deadline, or intently focus on something). However when we experience excessive demands (whether they be physical, financial, moral or emotional), and we are not able to deploy resources to respond to them, stress can adversely affect our behaviour, relationships, productivity and health.  

A prolonged state of stress where the body continuously activates relevant systems to respond to demands can lead to emotional, mental and physical exhaustion, often referred to as ‘burnout’, common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, and physical illness such as heart disease and high blood pressure. The recent Burnout Report from Mental Health UK (2024, pp.9) identified the prevalence in the UK with ‘9 in 10 adults experienced high or extreme stress in the past year’. Find out more, including recommendations to prevent burnout in the Mental Health UK The Burnout Report.  

It’s important to remember that every individual is different and their experience of pressures and demands, the resources and support they have to cope, and what can tip them from optimal to negative stress, will vary (as shown in the Stress Curve Diagram).  

At our fourth MMI Research Symposium in 2023, Dr Rebecca Smith, a lecturer in Veterinary Professional Development at Harper and Keele Veterinary School, discussed the top 10 stressors identified by vets and vet nurses, and how these stressors varied with experience. The report and video are now available to view. 

We’ll be sharing more resources over the next few weeks, including more information on how to spot the signs of stress, how we can manage stress, and what we can do to support ourselves and others. 

Dr Faye Didymus and Dr Jackie Hargreaves

Student and Registered Veterinary Nurses wanted to support research project into SVN mental health education

Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant recipients, Dr Faye Didymus and Dr Jackie Hargreaves, are looking for student veterinary nurses (SVNs), registered veterinary nurses (RVNs), and those who deliver diploma-route and degree route veterinary nursing curricular, to help support them in their research project into SVN mental health education.

The project aims to explore how mental health and wellbeing is integrated into the learning paths of SVNs, and will culminate in a set of evidence-based recommendations for how mental health education for veterinary nursing students could be enhanced.

As such, Dr Didymus and Dr Hargreaves, from Leeds Beckett University, are running a webinar through MMI to discuss their research findings to date and to offer an opportunity for attendees to contribute to the design and development of the second phase of their research, which will be essential for achieving the main outcome of their research project.

Rapinder Newton, MMI Project Lead, said: “Our Sarah Brown Mental Health Research grant has helped to fund six projects looking into various aspects of veterinary mental wellbeing, but this is the first to look specifically into veterinary nurse mental health.

“This is of vital importance, as much of the current research is either targeted towards vets or the vet team as a whole, as opposed to being nurse specific. We must do more to ensure that the entire veterinary team feel supported in their work and have the tools to maintain good mental health.

“It is fantastic to see Dr Hargreaves and Dr Didymus looking into early interventions to support SVN mental health from the start of their careers. This kind of research is vital in making positive change for the future, so if you are a current SVN, RVN or help deliver veterinary nursing programmes, then please do get involved.”

The webinar will be taking place online via Zoom on Tuesday 23 April 2024, from 10.30 – 11.30am.

Anybody interested in finding out more and contributing to the research can sign up to the webinar via the dedicated Eventbrite page.

For more information about the grant recipients and the project, visit the RCVS website.

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MMI to focus on moral injury, OCD and PTSD at BSAVA Congress 2024

As part of the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA) Congress 2024, taking place from 21 to 23 March 2024, at the Manchester Central Convention Complex, Manchester, we will be running two streams based around moral stress, moral injury and psychological safety, as well as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Our first stream, taking place on Thursday 21 March from 10:30 to 17:00, is being held as part of the Wellbeing Programme, and will be centred around moral stress, moral injury, and psychological safety. This will include a mix of sessions, such as an introductive talk on the concepts of moral stress and injury, an introduction to veterinary mental health charity Vetlife, and a panel discussion exploring the role of ethical conversations in supporting yourself and your colleagues to navigate challenging events and experiences.

The second stream will take place on Friday 22 March from 09:10 to 17:40 and will be centred around obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), this time as part of the BSAVA Scientific Programme. In this stream, delegates will explore the science behind OCD and PTSD and their impacts. As well as specific informative talks, this stream also includes two panel discussions centring around lived experience and workplace support for both OCD and PTSD.

Speaking about our congress sessions, new MMI Lead, Rapinder Newton, said: “When it comes to MMI, it is important that our work centres around the science, and that we are able to provide evidence-based information which will help to have a positive impact on the mental wellbeing of the professions.

“For BSAVA Congress, we have chosen two very specific themes for each of our streams, which both link into our new strategy which was published towards the end of last year.

“Firstly, we know there is a problem within the professions when it comes to moral stress and injury as shown by one of the research projects funded by our Sarah Brown Mental Health research grant back in 2020. There are also a lot of conversations in general surrounding this topic at the moment, for example, with the ban on XL bullies and the potential impacts that this could be having on the professions.

“Secondly, again, as part of our strategy, we are aiming to go beyond simply addressing wellbeing and delve deeper into the impacts of mental illness on those working in the veterinary professions. We are aiming to raise awareness of mental health conditions by providing expert evidence-based information in order to remove the stigma which still, sadly, is often attached to this.

“By delving into the science behind OCD and PTSD and bringing in clinical experts to talk about these topics, as well as integrating the stories of those with lived experience, we hope to challenge people’s potential misconceptions and widen the conversations around mental health, to ultimately improve the experiences of those experiencing these conditions and to help strengthen the workforce as a whole.”

The Mind Matters 5-year Strategy can be accessed on our resource page. For more on the findings of the Sarah Brown Research Project into moral injury within the veterinary professions, a summary of the talk given by researcher Dr Victoria Williamson can be found in the write up of our Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium 2023 on our resource page, as well as a video of the talk.

If you are currently experiencing mental health challenges, there are many sources of support which you can reach out to: Vetlife is there for you 24/7 and can be reached on: 0303 040 2551, Samaritans also provide 24/7 support and can be reached on 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org. You can also contact your local GP or call NHS 111. If you are in crisis ring 999 or visit your local A&E department.

For more information on our activities at BSAVA, including a full break down of session times and locations, please visit the RCVS BSAVA Congress page.

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MMI releases Mind Matters Mental Health Symposium Report and videos

Today, 28 February 2024, we have released a report depicting the findings from the fourth Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium as well as videos of talks from the day.

The event, which took place on 10 October 2023 in Manchester, saw veterinary mental health researchers from across Europe come together to share their insights into a variety of areas of veterinary mental health including moral injury, suicide and suicide prevention, the impact of racism, veterinary nurse mental health, and workplace stressors for autistic veterinary professionals. There was a total of 77 attendees, including a mix of academic researchers and veterinary professionals.

The day was split into three main sections. The first portion of the day included a welcome address from Dr Kate Richards, Chair of the Mind Matters Initiative, followed by the keynote and plenary address from Dr Leah Quinlivan on ‘Evidence-based care for people who have self-harmed: risk prediction, psychosocial assessments and aftercare.’

The second portion of the day included talks from previous recipients of the Mind Matters Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant, which was first set up in honour of former RCVS Council member and veterinary mental health advocate Sarah Brown. These research talks, which included research into topics spanning from the impact of racism on the mental health of veterinary professionals, to the impact of moral injury on UK veterinary professional wellbeing, were introduced by RCVS CEO and Mind Matters founder Lizzie Lockett.

After lunch, attention turned to quick fire research talks, where researchers from across the field of veterinary mental health research each had 15 minutes to take to the stage to present their projects. These talks provided insight into a range of important topics and included presentations from seasoned academics as well as those just starting out in their careers. These sessions were chaired by Angharad Belcher, Director for the Advancement of the Professions and of the Mind Matters Initiative.

To close the day, Angharad then took to the stage to talk about the work of MMI, including its newly published 5-year strategy and evaluation documents, before MMI Chair Dr Kate Richards closed the day’s proceedings with an outgoing address.

Angharad said: “The fourth Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium was a massively inspiring and insightful day. The field of veterinary mental health research is still relatively small so it remains of utmost importance that we continue to band together to share our knowledge on this subject, so that we can continue to learn and grow together and put these important learnings into practice.

“For us, it is vital that these new groundbreaking research projects are made available to all who want to learn more about helping to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those working within the veterinary professions. There is some truly fantastic work going on which provides us with hope that we can all continue to work together towards a brighter future.”

“For us, it is vital that these new groundbreaking research projects are made available to all who want to learn more about helping to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those working within the veterinary professions. There is some truly fantastic work going on which provides us with hope that we can all continue to work together towards a brighter future.

“There is no doubt that there is a long way to go, but improvement starts with education and research so I would urge anybody who is interested in what is being done to help improve and support the mental health of those working within the veterinary professions, and who is keen to help us keep these vital conversations going, to have a look through the report or access videos of the talks. It was a truly inspiring day with a lot of key takeaways.”

Anybody wishing to access the report or videos from the day can do so by visiting our resource page.

 If you are currently experiencing mental health challenges, there are many sources of support which you can reach out to: Vetlife is there for you 24/7 and can be reached on: 0303 040 2551, Samaritans also provide 24/7 support and can be reached on 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org. You can also contact your local GP or call NHS 111. If you are in crisis ring 999 or visit your local A&E department.

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Join our online ‘Mind Yourself’ training programme

Join us for our new online ‘Mind Yourself’ training programme, designed to help individuals to improve and protect their mental health.

The three-part online virtual programme – open to all members of the veterinary professions including veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, students, receptionists, and practice managers – will be delivered by award winning mental health training charity Two Roads Charity. Sessions will be taking place on Zoom for three consecutive Mondays in April (Monday 8 April, Monday 15 April, and Monday 22 April) from 16:00 to 16:50pm.

Thanks to MMI subsidies, the entire programme costs £15 per person or £50 for a bulk practice purchase for four people.

MMI Lead, Rapinder Newton, said: “Being mentally healthy is a lot more than simply the absence of mental illness. The ‘Mind Yourself’ programme from Two Roads is designed to help people move towards flourishing mental health so that they can lead happier lives and have the emotional resilience for when things go wrong.  

“Beginning with building understanding of mental health, the latter parts of the programme will help nudge individuals into incorporating mentally healthy practices into their lives and to build their emotional resilience.

“The programme is open to all members of the veterinary team and spaces are available on a first come first served basis so, if you would like to attend, I would urge you to book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.”

For more information on the Two Roads Charity training programme, and to book your place, visit the Mind Matters training page.

If you are currently experiencing mental health challenges, there are many sources of support which you can reach out to: Vetlife is there for you 24/7 and can be reached on: 0303 040 2551, Samaritans also provide 24/7 support and can be reached on 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org. You can also contact your local GP or call NHS 111. If you are in crisis ring 999 or visit your local A&E department.

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Become a Mental Health First Aider with Mind Matters

This March, we’re offering veterinary professionals the opportunity to become Mental Health First Aiders, by providing in-person training in Nottingham.

The course, which will allow delegates to gain their Mental Health First Aid qualification, will be partially subsidised by us and led by Mental Health First Aid England who offer expert guidance and training to support mental health in the workplace and beyond.

The in-person two-day course will be running from Thursday 7 March to Friday 8 March 2024 at Antenna, Nottingham, at a cost of £80 per person. The course is open to all members of the veterinary professions, including veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, students, receptionists and practice managers.

Advancement of the Professions and Mind Matters Director, Angharad Belcher, said: “At MMI, we really believe in creating a thriving veterinary community which not only provides people with help and guidance to look after their own mental health, but also allows them to develop an understanding of how they can best support their fellow colleagues too. Those who complete the Mental Health First Aid course will learn how to spot signs of poor mental health in others, how to successfully signpost to appropriate support, and teach people how to confidently start conversations around mental health.

“Having worked with Mental Health First Aid England in the past to provide these valuable training courses, we are really pleased to see the network of veterinary Mental Health First Aiders continue to grow, particularly in more rural areas where access to mental health support is often more difficult to come by. The aim is to create a ripple effect, whereby Mental Health First Aiders within the veterinary community can then support others to feel confident in speaking out about how they feel and to reach out for appropriate support if required.”

For more information on the Mental Health First Aid course, and to book your place, visit our training page. Spaces are offered on a first come first served basis, so be sure to book you space quickly to avoid disappointment.

If you are currently experiencing mental health challenges, there are many sources of support which you can reach out to: Vetlife is there for you 24/7 and can be reached on: 0303 040 2551, Samaritans also provide 24/7 support and can be reached on 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org. You can also contact your local GP or call NHS 111. If you are in crisis ring 999 or visit your local A&E department.

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Could you become a Mental Health First Aid Champion?

This January, we are offering veterinary professionals the chance to become Mental Health First Aid Champions, by subsidising a training course led by Mental Health First Aid England.

The course, which will allow delegates to qualify as Mental Health First Aid Champions, will be partially subsidised by MMI and led by Mental Health First Aid England who offer expert guidance and training to support mental health in the workplace and beyond.

We will be running two sessions. The first will take place on Tuesday 9 January 2024 and the second on Thursday 11 January 2024. Both will take place online from 9am – 5pm, cost £40 per person, and are open to all those working in the veterinary professions.

Advancement of the Professions and Mind Matters Director, Angharad Belcher, said: “We have been working alongside Mental Health First Aid for a couple of years now to provide subsidised training for the veterinary professions and have received fantastic feedback.

“This day long training session will help people to gain an understanding of what mental health is and how to challenge stigma, to gain the knowledge and confidence to advocate or mental health awareness, provide them with the ability to spot the signs of mental ill health and the skills to support positive wellbeing, as well as give people the confidence to support someone who is in distress or may be experiencing a mental health issue.

“While these sessions are open to all working in the veterinary professions, we are particularly encouraging vets working in rural areas or in ambulatory work to get involved. All veterinary work has its challenges, but we know from MMI funded research conducted by Scotland’s Rural College that rural and ambulatory veterinary work comes with its own set of challenges which is often compounded by working alone or having relatively limited contact with colleagues. Those working in rural areas often play integral roles within their local communities and it is therefore important to provide people with the skills to not only look after their own mental health, but with the opportunities to learn how to best support their friends and colleagues too.”

For more information on the Mental Health First Aid Champion training course, and to book your place, visit our training page. Spaces are limited, so we suggest booking early to avoid disappointment.

If you are currently experiencing mental health challenges, there are many sources of support which you can reach out to: Vetlife is there for you 24/7 and can be reached on: 0303 040 2551, Samaritans also provide 24/7 support and can be reached on 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org. You can also contact your local GP or call NHS 111. If you are in crisis ring 999 or visit your local A&E department.

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Gather round for our latest series of Campfire Chats

We are delighted to announce the return of our Campfire Chats this winter. Once again, we are inviting veterinary professionals to come together to engage in informal panel discussions on matters related to veterinary mental health and wellbeing.

Back by popular demand, the chats, which were first introduced back in 2021, are now returning for a fifth series and will offer all those working within the veterinary professions a chance to pause, reflect, and learn from each other’s experiences.

The first session in the series, ‘Self-care through Winter’, will take place online on Wednesday 13 December from 7pm – 8pm. It is open to all members of the veterinary professions including veterinary surgeons, veterinary nurses, students, practice managers, receptionists and everyone else who works in the field of animal health.

Advancement of the Professions and Mind Matters Director, Angharad Belcher, said: “We are really looking forward to bringing back our Campfire Chats, which offer a safe space for the veterinary community to come together for informal discussions on some of the issues impacting mental health and wellbeing.

“We have a brilliant panel lined up for the first session of the series and are keen to get as many people involved in the discussion as possible – however, if you simply want to grab a cup of tea and listen in to the discussion, you are absolutely welcome to do so.

“We are excited to announce that this year, all sessions will be recorded, so if you are unable to attend the chat on the night, you will be able to listen back to the panel session afterwards via the MMI website. However, the Q and A section of the chat will not be recorded as we are keen to make sure that attendees feel as comfortable as possible in sharing their thoughts and feelings, should they wish. Our Campfire Chats offer a safe space for all, to reflect, connect and decompress – just like sitting and chatting around a real campfire. We look forward to welcoming as many of you as possible.”

For more information on the ‘Self-care through Winter’ Campfire Chat, and to book your place, please visit our events page, where you can find a link to the dedicated Eventbrite page.

Our next Campfire Chat, ‘Managing Anxiety 101’, is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 24 January 2024, from 7pm – 8pm. The Eventbrite registration link for this will be available via our events page in due course.

Please note that the Campfire Chat sessions are informal in nature and intended to provide an outlet to discuss key topics related to mental health and do not replace proper professional or clinical information, advice or guidance. If you are currently experiencing mental health challenges, there are many sources of support which you can reach out to: Vetlife is there for you 24/7 and can be reached on: 0303 040 2551, Samaritans also provide 24/7 support and can be reached on 116 123 or by emailing jo@samaritans.org. You can also contact your local GP or call NHS 111. If you are in crisis ring 999 or visit your local A&E department.

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Veterinary mental health researchers gather for Fourth MMI Symposium

On Tuesday 10 October, we held our fourth biennial mental health research symposium at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.

The event saw veterinary mental health researchers from across Europe come together to share their insights into a variety of areas of veterinary mental health including moral injury, suicide and suicide prevention, the impact of racism, veterinary nurse mental health, and workplace stressors for autistic veterinary professionals. There was a total of 77 attendees, including a mix of academic researchers and veterinary professionals.

The day opened with a welcome from Dr Kate Richards MRCVS, Chair of the Mind Matters Initiative. Kate provided the background to MMI before laying out the proceedings for the day which began with a talk from keynote speaker Dr Leah Quinlivan, Research Fellow and Chartered Psychologist at the University of Manchester, who presented on ‘Evidence-based care for people who have self-harmed: risk prediction, psychosocial assessments, and aftercare.’

RCVS CEO and MMI founder Lizzie Lockett then introduced the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant, which has been awarded for five consecutive years. The grant was first set up in honour of former RCVS Council member and veterinary mental health advocate Sarah Brown, who took her own life in 2017. Lizzie highlighted Sarah’s brilliant work and thanked Sarah’s family for their ongoing support of the grant. She then went on to formally present the grant to this year’s recipients, Dr Jackie Hargreaves and Dr Faye Didymus, researchers from Leeds Beckett University, who will be running the last of six research projects funded in Sarah’s name. Their research project will be taking a deep dive into whether there is adequate mental health education in the student veterinary nursing curriculum.

The five previous Sarah Brown Research Grant recipients were then each invited to the stage to provide updates on their research projects. These were:

  • Dr Kate Lamont: How Farm Vets Cope: A summary of the project funded by the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant (Year 1), including ‘take home’ messages and post-project activity;
  • Dr Victoria Williamson: Experiences and impact of moral injury on UK veterinary professional wellbeing;
  • Dr Navaratnam Partheeban: Solutions that could make a difference to the impact of racism on Black and Minority Ethnic People working and studying in the UK veterinary profession;
  • Dr Kirstie Pickles: Autistic veterinary surgeons in the United Kingdom: Workplace stressors and mental wellbeing; and,
  • Dr Katherine Wakelin and Sarah Corthorne: An online compassionate imagery intervention to improve psychological wellbeing for veterinarians: A randomised control trial.

The proceedings then paused for lunch and networking, before talks recommenced in the afternoon. These talks took a quick-fire approach, with each researcher having 15 minutes to present their work. These talks provided insight into a range of important topics and included presentations from seasoned academics as well as those just starting out in their careers. These sessions were chaired by Angharad Belcher, Director for the Advancement of the Professions, who oversees the work of the Mind Matters Initiative.

Angharad then took to the stage to talk about the work of MMI, including its newly published 5-year strategy and evaluation documents. Within her talk she shared her thoughts on the day, stating: “I’ve really enjoyed hearing from everybody who has shared their research and I love the part where everybody goes out and starts engaging in discussion and thinking about what might be, and where this can all take us. What solutions we might be able to find. What different strategies we might be able to employ. But most of all it’s about the shared desire to raise awareness of mental health and to address stigma and discrimination.”

MMI Chair, Dr Kate Richards presenting at the MMI Research Symposium 2023
MMI Chair, Dr Kate Richards

Dr Kate Richards then provided closing remarks for the day, stating: “What a day. I’m just so honoured to be the MMI Chair and really humbled by the passion, the commitment and generosity demonstrated by everybody throughout today.

“Today has been about a vast variety of topics with presenters from veterinary backgrounds, veterinary nurse backgrounds, medical science backgrounds and social science backgrounds. I think the power and the huge synergies from cross disciplinary working is a real motivator for me. Just to see everybody in the room sharing and collaborating, learning from one another, I think, is extremely powerful.”

A breakdown of the day, including talks abstracts and speaker bios, is available to access in our resources section. Videos of the day and a full report will be available to view in due course.

If you’re currently struggling with your mental health, Vetlife is there for you 24/7 and can be reached on: 0303 040 2551. The Samaritans also provide 24/7 support and can be reached on 116 123.

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Early bird tickets available for Mind Matters Symposium

With just over a month to go until our biennial Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) Mental Health Research Symposium, there are still early bird tickets available at a reduced rate ahead of the event.

Coinciding with World Mental Health Day, the MMI Symposium will take place at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Tuesday 10 October and bring together veterinary mental health researchers from across the UK and Europe to share their work. This includes former Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant recipients, who will share project progress updates.

The plenary will be delivered by Dr Leah Quinlivan, a research fellow and chartered psychologist at the University of Manchester. Her talk ‘Evidence-based care for people who have self-harmed: risk prediction, psychosocial assessments, and aftercare’, will outline the importance of improving mental health services for patients who have harmed themselves, via discussion of evidence, policy, and practice for risk prediction, psychosocial assessment, and aftercare.

In addition to presentations from the Sarah Brown Grant recipients and Dr Quinlivan, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from a variety of international veterinary mental health research experts on an array of topics ranging from the impacts of euthanasia on veterinary professionals, to the impact of Covid-19 on veterinary mental wellbeing in Europe.

RCVS Director for Advancement of the Professions, Angharad Belcher, said: “The Mind Matters Symposium is such an important event in the RCVS calendar as it highlights just how much progress is being made and how committed professionals both within and outside of the veterinary professions are when it comes to improving veterinary mental health.

“We know that those working in the veterinary professions are more at risk of developing mental health issues than the general population, so it is of vital importance that we do all we can to support people where we can, and research plays a key role in this.

“This is our first in-person symposium since before the pandemic, so we are keen to get as many people involved as possible. We welcome all members of the veterinary team, those who are curious about mental health in the veterinary context, those early on in their careers, experienced researchers, and everyone in between.

“Our early bird tickets are available for £45 until 11 September 2023, whereafter they will be available at our general admission price of £60. It’s also worth noting that we do have a limited number of free tickets available for those who wish to attend but do not have the means to do so. This includes students, people with lived experience of mental health problems, and people who are unwaged. If you fall into this category and are interested in attending, please do get in touch.” For more information about the Mind Matters Research Symposium and to book your place, please visit our Symposium 2023 page. Those wishing to apply for a free ticket should contact the MMI team directly on info@vetmindmatters.org.

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Mind Matters awards funding to project exploring SVN mental health education

The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) has awarded £20,000 to a research project taking a deep dive into whether there is adequate mental health education in the student veterinary nursing curriculum.

The funding comes from the MMI Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant which was founded in 2019 in memory of RCVS Council Member Sarah Brown, who passed away in 2017. The grant has since been awarded on a yearly basis to fund research into the mental health and wellbeing of those working within the veterinary professions.

Past projects have funded research into a number of areas, including: the mental health impacts of racism; moral injury; farm veterinarian mental health; an investigation into workplace stressors for autistic veterinarians; and the effectiveness of online compassionate imagery intervention.

This year’s grant has been awarded to Dr Faye Didymus (pictured right, top) and Dr Jackie Hargreaves (pictured right, bottom) from Leeds Beckett University who aim to address potential lack of understanding surrounding the importance of mental health education in the learning paths of student veterinary nurses. This will be done through a scoping review of mental health education during student veterinary nursing curricula. The review will be supplemented by interviews with tutors, veterinary nurse students and qualified veterinary nurses to understand their experiences of and levels of exposure to mental health education. It is hoped this research will culminate in a set of evidence-based recommendations for how mental health education for student veterinary nurses could be enhanced.

On being told their proposal had been awarded the grant, Dr Faye Didymus said: “Being awarded the Sarah Brown Research Grant offers a fantastic opportunity for us and for the future of veterinary nursing. We hope that our research will have a real impact on the mental health of those working in the veterinary nursing profession.”

“Maintaining good mental health is vital for job satisfaction, retention, and performance, and integrating mental health education into veterinary nursing courses is one way that veterinary nurse mental health can be supported, as it allows people to develop essential skills that will benefit their lives beyond education.”

“However, little is known about what mental health education is provided across veterinary nursing diplomas and degrees or if there is a consistent approach. Throughout the research, we aim to build a clearer picture of the current provision, so we can create evidence-based recommendations for the optimisation of veterinary nursing education.”

Mind Matters Initiative Manager, Lisa Quigley, said: “This year marks the final year of the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grants, and I would like to thank Sarah’s family for their blessing to run the grant and for their ongoing support. We have funded six projects over the past five years which we hope will help Sarah’s legacy and passion for improving mental health and wellbeing within the professions live on.

“I would also like to thank our panel of judges for their support. We have chosen a very deserving project and I look forward to seeing the outcome of their research and the impact it will have on the professions in the years to come.

“Much of the research into veterinary mental health has so far been centred around veterinary surgeons so we were keen to fund a veterinary nurse focussed project to help close that knowledge gap. The veterinary field encompasses the entire veterinary team, and we cannot afford to overlook a group that makes up much of the working veterinary population and who are vital for the functioning of the sector. It is essential that we support our veterinary nurses throughout their careers and provide them with the knowledge and tools to look after their own mental wellbeing from the outset.

“Research plays a major role in this, and we are delighted to be funding a fully nurse-based project.”

Dr Faye Didymus and Dr Jackie Hargreaves will be awarded the Sarah Brown Grant at the Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium at the Midland Hotel in Manchester on Tuesday 10 October. Tickets and more information about the symposium are available on our dedicated symposium page.

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Mental health symposium to showcase groundbreaking international research

The Mind Matters Initiative’s (MMI) fourth Mental Health Research Symposium will take place in Manchester this autumn.

At the event, presentations will be delivered by veterinary mental health researchers from across the UK and Europe, including those whose projects have been funded by MMI’s Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grants. The symposium, which has been designed to be inclusive and welcoming to all, takes place at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester on Tuesday 10 October. Tickets cost £45 per person although the event is free for students, people with lived experience of mental health problems, and people who are unwaged, who would not otherwise be able to attend.

The symposium will be launched by the plenary speaker Dr Leah Quinlivan, a research fellow and chartered psychologist at the University of Manchester. Her talk ‘Evidence-based care for people who have self-harmed: risk prediction, psychosocial assessments, and aftercare’, will outline the importance of improving mental health services for patients who have harmed themselves, via discussion of evidence, policy, and practice for risk prediction, psychosocial assessment, and aftercare.

Dr Leah Quinlivan
Dr Leah Quinlivan

Dr Quinlivan’s talk will be followed by presentations from recipients of the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant. This annual £20,000 grant was launched in 2019 in memory of RCVS Council member Sarah Brown and has since funded a diverse range of research projects including into the wellbeing of farm vets, how racism and discrimination impact veterinary mental health, the effects of moral injury, and how to make reasonable adjustments for autistic veterinary professionals. The recipient of this year’s Sarah Brown grant will also be presented with their award at the symposium.

In the afternoon of the event there will be a number of talks from people already working in veterinary mental health research on topics including post-Covid wellbeing amongst veterinary professionals, the impact of companion animal euthanasia, workplace stressors and how they change with career stage, and the quality of mental health support received by veterinary nurses. Full details of the symposium, including abstracts and speaker biographies, will be published in due course.

Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters Initiative project manager, said: “This year it is great to get back to having an in-person MMI symposium. I am proud that we have created an inclusive and welcoming event, featuring leading national and international researcher on veterinary mental health and wellbeing, as well as those who are at the beginning of their research career. This year, the event promises once more to be a supportive and thought-provoking event, where we can gather to share findings, information and best practice for the good of the professions.

“The recent publication of MMI’s five-year strategy has outlined our recognition that we need to expand the conversation beyond mental health awareness and into looking at more systemic and cultural issues, as well as exploring how the insights gained from research might be implemented in practice. These ambitious aims are reflected in the breadth of the talks and presentations at the symposium and so I look forward to hearing more from those who share our values and aims, and to continuing the conversation about how and where we can do more.

“The symposium is very much open to all members of the veterinary team including vets, vet nurses, practice managers and academics. Previous feedback we’ve received from attendees has been uniformly positive, citing the insight of the researchers, the important discussions that have taken place about the research and the ability to network and talk to others with a passion for veterinary mental health and wellbeing. Finally, we are grateful to veterinary mental health researcher and Vetlife helpline manager Dr Rosie Allister MRCVS, for her continued support with the curation of the research programme”

Further information about the event, including registration details and a link to the symposium’s Eventbrite page, can be found in the Events section of our website.

The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative: the next five years. Illustration of a lady sitting in rain with an umbrella that has the sun emerging from clouds within it.

Mind Matters reflects on progress and future with publication of new reports

The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) has, this week, released two key publications – an Evaluation Report outlining its progress and impact since its inception almost a decade ago, and its new Five-Year Strategy announcing the project’s plans and future direction.

Launched in December 2014, MMI was set up by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) to help improve and support the mental health and wellbeing of those in the veterinary team, including students, veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons and practice managers.

The Evaluation Report reflects on the story of MMI so far, looking at some of the key projects established under its three main workstreams: prevent, protect, and support. The report includes case studies outlining the key challenges and problems that MMI has sought to address, what was done to address them, the impact made, and how lessons learned from each of those projects will be used to shape the future of MMI.

The second publication, the Mind Matters Strategy, was developed alongside the evaluation, and presents an overview of MMI’s plans for the next five years, taking stock of MMI’s achievements so far, and looking ahead to new areas of focus that build on current successes while learning from the challenges faced in previous years. The Strategy summarises key objectives, and how these fit into the existing MMI prevent, protect and support workstreams.

Mind Matters Manager, Lisa Quigley, said: “MMI has achieved so much over the past eight years, but none of it would have been possible without the support and collaborative efforts of other organisations who share our values and intent.

“Improving and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals requires effective communication and input from across the board – there is no quick fix, and we must work together to keep the conversation going.

“Our past projects have allowed us to connect with so many people from across the professions and we are all ultimately working towards the same goal. Our evaluation report aims to encapsulate just how far we’ve come and the impact we have managed to have since our inception, but also to highlight what lessons can be taken forward into the future.

“Our five-year strategy is ambitious, but without that ambition, we wouldn’t have been able to get to where we are today. The veterinary landscape, and indeed, the mental health and societal landscapes, have evolved considerably over the past few years and will continue to do so. We have achieved a lot, but there is always room for improvement, and it is important that we remain agile and adaptable to change, while continuing to listen to those with lived experience of the issues we seek to address.

“I would like to personally thank everyone who has been involved in our various projects up until now and who has helped to guide our progress, in particular the members of the MMI Taskforce and everyone who contributed to our consultation. Mind Matters is for you, our veterinary professionals, and I hope you will continue to engage with our work in the years to come, so we can continue to grow and evolve to support as many people to thrive as possible.”

To view the Mind Matters 5 Year Strategy ‘The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative: The next 5 years’, and the Evaluation ‘The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative: The story so far…’ visit our resource page at https://vetmindmatters.org/resources/.

Sarah Brown Grant graphic

Mind Matters reminds veterinary mental health researchers of upcoming funding and knowledge exchange opportunities

MMI is reminding veterinary mental health researchers of opportunities to participate in two key research initiatives, which aim to support the development of mental health research within the veterinary field.

The first of the initiatives is the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant – a £20,000 grant which was set up in memory of vet, RCVS Council member and mental health campaigner Sarah Brown in 2019, to fund research into veterinary mental health. MMI is inviting researchers at all career stages to apply for the grant and any applications relevant to veterinary mental health are welcome. The application deadline has now been extended to 5pm on Thursday 15 June.

The second initiative is the biennial Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium, taking place this autumn in Manchester. MMI are calling on UK and international researchers working in the field of veterinary mental health and wellbeing to submit abstracts of up to 250 words in order to share their research at the Symposium. Researchers can choose to either give a 15-minute presentation on the day, or to present a poster which will be displayed at the venue for people to view throughout the lunch break. Again, researchers from all backgrounds and career stages are encouraged to apply, and projects can be based around any area of mental health and wellbeing within the veterinary professions. The abstract submission deadline for this has also been extended, to Thursday 1 June.

Mind Matters Manager, Lisa Quigley, said “Mental health research is of critical importance and forms a significant part of our work at MMI.

“Since our inception, we have seen substantial growth in the number of veterinary mental health research projects coming to fruition and are proud to be supporting researchers in any way we can.

“Our Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant is now entering it’s fifth year and it has been really rewarding to see the impact that these projects have had, both in theory and practice. Past topics have included neurodiversity, moral injury and racism, to name a few, and we look forward to funding more important research this coming year.

“Our symposium is of equal importance and brings together veterinary researchers from across the globe to share their work. The winner of our 2023 Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant will also receive their award at the symposium, and previous winners will also be in attendance to present their research. The symposium offers a fantastic opportunity to showcase all the vital work currently taking place in the veterinary mental health research field, and we strongly encourage anybody working on a relevant project to get involved.”

For more information on the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant and how to apply, visit our MMI Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant page.

For further information on the Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium and how to submit and abstract, visit our MMI Symposium page.

MMI Research Symposium graphic

Call for mental health researchers to submit abstracts for MMI Symposium 2023

MMI is calling on UK and international researchers working in the field of mental health and wellbeing in the veterinary professions to submit their abstracts for the upcoming Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium, taking place this autumn.

The event, which will be taking place on Tuesday 10 October at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, aims to bring together researchers from across the world who are interested in all aspects of the mental health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals.

MMI is asking researchers to submit abstracts of up to 250 words to share their research at the Symposium. They can choose to either give a 15 minute presentation on the day, or to present a poster which will be displayed at the venue for people to view at lunchtime. Researchers from all backgrounds and career stages are encouraged to apply and projects can be based around any area of mental health and wellbeing within the veterinary professions. This includes research projects focussing on the mental health and wellbeing of veterinary nurses and other members of the veterinary team.

Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters Manager, said: “Veterinary mental health research remains of vital importance. Since MMI’s inception we have been heartened to see the field attract ever-increasing numbers of skilled, compassionate researchers from across the UK and beyond – many of whom have a personal connection to the professions. We know they care deeply about the work they do to improve our understanding of veterinary mental health challenges, and the things that can help.

“Our last symposium, held online in 2021, saw some of the top researchers in veterinary mental health present their work on topics ranging from cyberbullying and exercise to the effectiveness of mental health support apps and the importance of mindset. We also heard progress reports from our Sarah Brown research grant winners, whose outstanding work in Sarah’s memory is already making a tangible difference to the everyday lives of those working in the veterinary professions. We look forward to returning to an in-person event for 2023, and welcoming all members of the veterinary mental health research community to Manchester.

“I would also like to thank Dr Rosie Allister, member of our Mind Matters Taskforce and veterinary mental health researcher, who will once again be supporting us in the organisation of the Symposium. As with previous years, we are committed to making the MMI Mental Health Research Symposium a supportive and inclusive event, particularly for early career researchers. We encourage abstract submissions from researchers at all stages of their career, including students.”

Researchers interested in participating in the symposium should submit abstracts no longer than 250 words including:

  • background;
  • clear and explicit aims and objectives;
  • hypotheses or research questions;
  • methods;
  • results;
  • discussion;
  • and conclusion.

All abstracts should be submitted via the Mind Matter Symposium abstract submission form by Monday 1 May which is available to access via the dedicated Mind Matters Symposium page. Please note, early applications are encouraged as speaking slots are limited.

Successful applicants will be notified after the application deadline and will also receive complimentary registration for the Symposium.

Those who have any further questions about submitting an abstract can contact Lisa Quigley on l.quigley@rcvs.org.uk.

The full agenda for the Symposium, including how to sign up to attend, will be published in the summer.

MMI to run Neurodiversity stream at BSAVA Congress

MMI have partnered with the British Small Animal Veterinary Association to run a neurodiversity stream as part of the annual BSAVA Congress.

The congress, which is due to take place at the Manchester Central Convention Complex from 23 – 25 March 2023, will include over 130 hours of continuing professional development (CPD) covering a variety of disciplines and learning styles – from lectures and panel discussions to interactive sessions and free practical CPD workshops.

The neurodiversity stream will be held in the Exchange Auditorium on Friday 24 March and will consist of a number of sessions covering a wide range of sessions surrounding neurodiversity, including the keynote speech entitled ‘Neurodiversity and integration: bridging two worlds’ to be given by founding director of ADHD Girls, Samantha Hiew. Other sessions on neurodiversity throughout the day include:

  • Exploring neurodiversity
  • Different not less
  • Neurodiversity – the challenges of diagnosis
  • Neurodiversity in veterinary teams – the importance of allyship
  • Communication considerations
  • Supporting neurodivergent clients
  • Supporting neurodivergent vet and vet nursing students
  • Moving forward – how can we cultivate more inclusive working?

Mind Matters Initiative Manager, Lisa Quigley, said: “MMI is delighted to be partnering with BSAVA to run this incredibly important stream. It is estimated that around 1 in 7 people in the UK are neurodivergent and whilst there is definitely more awareness surrounding the benefits of embracing a neurodivergent workforce and supporting neurodivergent individuals within the workplace, there is still much more to be done.

“Neurodiversity simply means that the brain functions, learns and processes information in a slightly different way to those who are considered neurotypical. Conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorders come under the neurodivergent umbrella.

“At MMI, we have been keen to bring neurodiversity to the forefront of our work. In the past year this has included the creation of our Neurodiversity Resource Hub, as well as funding a research project into identifying and addressing workplace stressors for autistic veterinary professionals.

“There is huge strength to be found in diversity of thinking, however, we know that neurodivergent individuals may sometimes face challenges. It is therefore vital to ensure that all individuals working in the veterinary professions feel supported to be who they are in order to thrive in the workplace.

“We are really looking forward to continuing our neurodiversity work in the future and would like to thank the BSAVA for continuing to provide a platform for these vital conversations.”

Andy Green, Vice Chair of the BSAVA Congress Programme Committee said: “It has never been more important to understand, connect with and support all the members of our veterinary teams, of whom a considerable number may be neurodivergent. The same is true for many pet owners and clients.

“We are delighted to be able to provide a platform in partnership with the RCVS Mind Matters Initiative to explore this important subject and help to promote a greater understanding of what it actually means to be neurodivergent, along with practical ways that practices can understand, embrace and support neurodivergent members of the work force and community.”

Tickets for BSAVA Congress are available on the BSAVA Congress website and click the following links to visit our MMI Neurodiversity Resource Hub and for information on the autism research project.

Graphic illustration of workplace activity with VN Futures and MMI logos

Mind Matters and VN Futures expand training collaboration

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) and VN Futures project are expanding their training collaboration to include self-compassion and anxiety workshops.

MMI and VN Futures have a long-standing working relationship and their common aims have seen them work together in a number of different capacities over the past few years. This has included undertaking joint research into the wellbeing and mental health of veterinary nurses, running an online student wellbeing discussion forum and, as part of their recent training collaboration, coming together to expand the reach of MMI’s civility and psychological safety training sessions.

The newest addition to the training collaboration includes a number of new evidence-based workshops on anxiety and self-compassion.  

Mind Matters Initiative Manager, Lisa Quigley, said: “We know that working in the veterinary professions is challenging and evidence shows that veterinary professionals are at higher risk of suffering from common mental health problems such as anxiety and burnout than that of the general population.

“Using insights gathered from previous joint VN Futures and MMI ventures, we are proud to be expanding our training collaboration to provide targeted support which has the capacity to actively make a tangible difference to the professions.

“When it comes to mental health, wellbeing, and the curation of positive workplace cultures, there is no quick fix – it takes time and dedication from all involved. We are grateful for the support of VN Futures as we work together to help create this positive shift.”

Jill Macdonald, VN Futures Project Lead, said: “At VN Futures, we aim to ensure that veterinary nursing is a vibrant, rewarding and sustainable profession and supporting mental health and wellbeing is a vital part of this. Veterinary nurses are an essential part of the veterinary team and creating workplaces where the entire team is able to thrive and feel valued and respected is of utmost importance. Working with MMI to expand the reach of the civility and psychological safety training sessions has proven effective in promoting this concept.

“Like our civility and psychological safety training, our new anxiety and self-compassion workshops are open to everyone in the veterinary team and are designed to provide people with the skills needed to create long lasting, sustainable positive change.

“We hope delegates will find the sessions useful and will apply the skills they have learned to support themselves and those around them both now and in the future.”

Initial training dates are as listed below and will take place in person (sessions cost £15 per person):

For more training sessions, including the joint MMI and VN Futures Civility and Psychological Safety training sessions, visit our training page.

Sarah Brown Grant graphic

Mind Matters opens applications for £20,000 mental health research grant

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) is inviting veterinary mental health researchers to apply for the 2023 Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant.

The £20,000 grant, which was set up in memory of vet, RCVS Council member and mental health campaigner Sarah Brown, has been awarded every year since 2019 and has so far provided funding for 5 innovative research projects, each of which focus on different areas of mental health within the veterinary professions. Past project topics have included:

As well as receiving funding for their research, previous winners have had opportunities to present their findings at conferences, including the MMI Symposium, and received support from the MMI and the RCVS to help promote their study and recruit volunteers.

Applications on an any topic relevant to veterinary mental health are welcome. However, in line with the original aim of the Sarah Brown grants and the strategic aims of MMI, particular interest will be shown to projects surrounding the following themes and topics:

  • veterinary suicide
  • those with a strong focus on mental health, rather than wellbeing/wellness
  • veterinary nurses, veterinary nursing students, and non-veterinary member of the practice team (e.g. receptionists)
  • understanding experiences of minoritised groups within the veterinary team
  • projects led by those who typically receive fewer opportunities in academia (e.g. student, minoritised groups, those with lived experience of mental health problems)

Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters Initiative Manager, said: “Over the past four years, we have been fortunate to support some truly fantastic research projects within the veterinary mental health sphere. Sarah was a strong mental health and wellbeing advocate with a particular passion for ensuring that those working in the veterinary professions were confident, happy, resilient and well supported. We are grateful to Sarah’s family for giving us their blessing and support to help continue her legacy through the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant.

“The grant is open to anyone with a relevant research idea, whether that be a highly experienced researcher, or someone just starting out in their career. All applications are anonymised and will be judged based on their quality, originality and relevance to the profession.

“Mental health research is of vital importance, both in theory and practice, and forms a vital part of our work at MMI. Our past projects have already proven to have real tangible benefits to veterinary teams and we look forward to seeing how our research projects will continue to drive positive change in the future.”

Anyone wishing to apply for the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant can find more information on the dedicated Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant page, where an application form is also available to download. Applications should be sent to Lisa Quigley on l.quigley@rcvs.org.uk by 5pm on Wednesday 31 May 2023. The award will be formally presented at the 2023 Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium taking place in November 2023, where the winner will also be invited to present their work.

Innovation wellbeing icon

MMI releases new mental health and wellbeing training opportunities for 2023

Mind Matters Initiative has developed a range of new mental health and wellbeing training opportunities for the veterinary professions for 2023.

Expanding on the training available in autumn 2022, which was launched based on the results of an extensive training pilot, MMI is offering a total of 14 sessions taking place both online and in person over the next few months. Sessions will be running from January to April 2023. The courses will cover areas that have been identified as priority topics from previous MMI surveys, feedback from the professions, and evaluation of the training pilots.

Mind Matters Initiative Manager, Lisa Quigley, said: “Last year was a busy year for MMI and saw the successful launch of our brand new training programme. Ensuring that our new training offering was comprehensive and matched the needs of the professions was a top priority for 2022 and will continue to be so for 2023.

“Mental health and wellbeing are impacted by a whole host of structural and societal factors and maintaining a healthy workforce goes far beyond supporting people on an individual level. Whilst it is undoubtedly important to provide people with the skills they need to look after themselves, we are aiming to expand on this by providing individuals with the skills and knowledge needed to recognise and address wider collective issues. For example, the importance of creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture.

“We hope those attending our sessions find them useful and we will, of course, continue to take on feedback to ensure our training remains as relevant and impactful as possible.”

Session dates and specific topics are as follows and are available to book via our training page:

Mental Health First Aid (£30 in-person)

9am – 5pm

Psychological Safety and Civility (£20 in-person, £15 online)

In-person – 9am – 4pm

Online – 9am – 1pm

Sustaining Your Emotional Health (£15 in-person)

2pm – 5pm

For more information on the training courses, visit our training page.

Graphic of a a log fire on a green MMI background

MMI Campfire Chats Return for Fourth Series of Topical Discussions 

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Mind Matters Initiative is inviting veterinary professionals to join their fourth series of Campfire Chats commencing this autumn.

The Campfire Chats, which were first set up in January 2021, provide veterinary professionals with the opportunity to come together to chat about important topics impacting their mental health and wellbeing.

Since their inception, the chats have continued to grow in popularity and have covered a wide range of topics, from stress and loneliness to creativity and climate change anxiety.

The upcoming sessions are as follows:

  • Tuesday 11 October 2022 7pm to 8pm: Social Media and Mental Health – this discussion will delve into the mental health benefits and challenges of social media, and how to manage these. Panel guests for this session include Lou Northway RVN (@louthevetnurse), Dr Bolu Eso MRCVS, and Dr Jeffrey Lambert (University of Bath).
  • Wednesday 9 November 7pm to 8pm: Letting Go of Perfect this chat will explore the topic of perfectionism – how to recognise it, how to learn navigate it, and the ways in which it can impact your mental wellbeing. Panellists include Dr Fabian Rivers MRCVS (Dready Vet), Dr Elisa Lewis (London South Bank University), and Professor Andrew Hill (York St John University).
  • Wednesday 30 November 7pm to 8pm: Maintaining Balance – this discussion will explore many faces of maintaining balance, the ways in which we can try to implement it into busy schedules, and why finding an individual sense of balance is so important. Panellists include Laura Kidd MRCVS (Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary studies, Edinburgh), and Lucy Grieve MRCVS (British Equine Veterinary Association).

An additional campfire chat is also due to be run in conjunction with the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Group, discussing the recently published RCVS/VSC (Veterinary Schools Council) BAME Student Support Working Group report. Details for this are yet to be confirmed.

Angharad Belcher, Director of the Mind Matters Initiative, commented: “We are delighted to be bringing back our Campfire Chats for a fourth series. It’s hugely important that we are able to provide the professions with a space to talk openly and honestly about the key issues impacting their mental health and wellbeing in a secure, yet relaxed, environment. We all lead such hectic lives and taking the time to come together and either discuss, or simply listen to, each other’s experiences can be really beneficial.”

“The sessions are open to the whole veterinary team and are free to attend. We like to keep the sessions as relaxed as possible, so whilst the sessions aren’t recorded, we do provide a roundup of all the key information discussed after each session. These round ups can be accessed via the Campfire Chats resource page on the MMI website or will be sent directly to you after the session.”

All members of the veterinary profession can sign up to attend the Campfire Chats via the MMI Events page.

For further information about the sessions, contact Abi Hanson, Mind Matters Initiative Officer, on a.hanson@rcvs.org.uk.