Tag Archive for: Research

Dr Faye Didymus and Dr Jackie Hargreaves

VN educators invited to participate in SVN mental health research project

Our Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant recipients for 2023 are currently collecting data on how mental health education is integrated into curricular for student veterinary nurses. They are looking for course leaders and tutors to complete a short survey, with a further option for an interview, to help inform their research.

The project is being led by Dr Faye Didymus and Dr Jackie Hargreaves from Leeds Beckett University and will culminate in a set of evidence-based recommendations for how mental health education for veterinary students could be enhanced.

Dr Hargreaves said: “As part of our project we have reviewed available information on mental health and wellbeing on accredited course websites but are keen to explore this further. We are asking those with responsibility for delivering accredited veterinary nursing education what they currently do to help enhance the mental health and wellbeing of their students. This will include a short survey and will ask questions about: student confidence in their academic and practical skills, coping with stress both at university and for life in practice, self-regulation, and self-management.

“We are seeking participation from course leaders, directors, and tutors who are working on accredited degrees and diplomas in UK further education and higher education. If you meet these criteria, we would be very grateful if you could take the time to participate in our study. There is currently little research in this area, and we hope that the outcomes of our project will make tangible differences to the mental health and wellbeing of veterinary nurses both throughout their studies and in the long term when they enter the workforce.

“Faye and I would like to thank everyone who has already taken the time to complete the survey and we look forward to hearing from as many veterinary nursing educators as possible.”

For further information and the survey, please follow the link: Mental Health for Veterinary Nurses Survey.

The survey will close on Friday 31 May 2024.

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.

MMI Research Symposium graphic

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.

MMI Research Symposium graphic

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.

MMI Research Symposium graphic

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.

Sarah Brown Grant graphic

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.

MMI Research Symposium graphic

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.

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.

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.

Mind Matters Logo

Stress and resilience at work

In a bid to better understand mindset, resilience and stress amongst veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses, Lucy Whitehall, final-year Masters student reading Applied Positive Psychology & Coaching Psychology with the University of East London, is carrying out a survey amongst members of the professions.

The results will be shared with us and should help to provide an evidence base that will help us to better understand which interventions may be most helpful in supporting mental health and wellbeing in the profession.

All those veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses who ticked the box on their renewal form to say they are happy to take part in research activities have been sent an email by Lucy with a link to the survey.

Others who would like to take part can do so through this link.

The survey will take around 15 minutes to complete and is anonymous. It has been ethically approved by the British Psychological Society, and will close on 15 December 2017.

Thank you in advance to all those who take part.

St Leonards Hall

Speaker line-up for inaugural Mind Matters Initiative Research Symposium confirmed

The agenda for the first Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) Research Symposium, which takes place on Friday 20 January 2017 at the University of Edinburgh’s Pollock Halls, has now been confirmed and has, as its overarching theme, ‘Understanding and supporting veterinary mental health’.

The event takes place between 8.30am and 4.30pm and begins with a welcome and introduction to the MMI from former RCVS President and MMI Chair Neil Smith.

Following the introduction there will be a number of plenary talks from those involved in research into mental health and wellbeing. Speakers and topics include Professor Rory O’Connor, Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Glasgow about understanding suicidal behaviour, Professor Debbie Cohen from the Centre for Psychosocial Research about disclosing and assessing mental ill-health in the medical profession and Chris O’Sullivan, Head of Workplace Mental Health at Mental Health Foundation about protecting and improving mental health at work.

These talks are by an expert panel session at 11.45am. The afternoon will then comprise two sessions of short talks divided into two steams comprising 14 presentations in total. A call for submissions was made last November and topics covered by the talks include empathy and burnout, professional skills development and wellbeing in primary care practitioners, how humour can effect employees and the working environment, and occupational stress and psychological wellbeing in UK veterinary surgeons. Each stream will culminate in a speaker panel Q&A.

At 3.30pm delegates will take part in an hour-long workshop facilitated by Lizzie Locket, MMI Director, to identify priority areas for veterinary mental health research.

The full agenda and tickets, which cost £30 (or £54 including a networking dinner on the evening of Thursday 19 January) are available from the our Eventbrite page.

St Leonards Hall

Registrations now open for first Mind Matters Initiative Research Symposium

The inaugural Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) Research Symposium will take place on Friday, 20 January 2017, at the University of Edinburgh’s Pollock Halls, under the theme ‘Understanding and supporting veterinary mental health’.

The event will bring together those involved in research into mental health and wellbeing in the veterinary profession in order to share latest findings and consider what interventions may be developed from this knowledge. There will also be the opportunity to identify the gaps in the current research jigsaw.

Keynote speakers will include Professor Rory O’Connor of the Suicide Behaviour Research Lab at the University of Glasgow, Dr Debbie Cohen, Chair of the Faculty of Occupational Health at Cardiff University, and Chris O’Sullivan of the Mental Health Foundation.

The event will be preceded, on the evening of Thursday 19 January 2017, by an optional informal dinner at the beautiful St Leonard’s Hall, for a chance to network with colleagues and start the discussion.

Tickets for the Symposium cost £30 (or £54 including dinner on 19 January), and are available on our Eventbrite page.

 

Call for submissions

A call for submissions from those keen to do short talks or present posters at the Symposium is also now open. Papers are particularly invited in the following areas:

  1. The veterinary life course: career stages, transitions and wellbeing
  2. Veterinary mental health: building the evidence base
  3. Mental health and wellbeing in veterinary education
  4. Workplace health
  5. Veterinary nurse mental health and wellbeing
  6. Support for veterinary professionals in distress
  7. New graduate mental health and support
  8. Wildcard – other veterinary mental health and wellbeing research projects are welcome to apply via this stream

 

Presentations should be in the format of a 12-minute oral presentation (10 minutes, plus two for questions) or an A1 or A0 poster. Those wishing to apply should submit an abstract clearly marked ‘poster’ or ‘oral presentation’. The title should be 15 words or fewer. The abstract should include author(s) first name(s), followed by surname(s), institution of affiliation and country. The body of the text should be no longer than 250 words and include: background; clear and explicit aims and objectives, hypotheses or research questions; methods; results; discussion; and conclusion buy generic propecia.

All abstracts should be submitted as Word documents to Rosie Allister no later than 23:59 (GMT) on 28 November 2016. Applicants will be notified if they have been successful within 14 days of this date. Speakers whose applications are successful will receive complimentary registration for the Symposium (does not include travel and accommodation costs or the dinner) but are encouraged to register in the first instance, to secure their place.