More than 20% of veterinarians surveyed in one study requested leave due to mental health problems

Professionals and female veterinarians in the early stages of their careers were most likely to experience these types of complications.

A comparative study conducted over five years across Europe has revealed worrying levels of stress and poor mental health among European veterinarians. Despite recognizing the positive aspects of the profession, the impact of a demanding socio-economic and cultural environment has emerged as a significant source of mental well-being issues in the veterinary community.

The study, which can be read at this link, covered two large European surveys between the years 2018-2019 and 2022-2023, and collected data from 14,559 and 12,393 veterinarians respectively. The assessment of mental well-being was based on three key indicators: self-reported stress levels, the need for medical leave due to low mental well-being and the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-Being Scale (WEMWBS), which is one of the recognized standards. Analysis of mental well-being of the population.

The results were worrying, as in both surveys, stress levels remained surprisingly high, with 22% of veterinarians reporting the need to take sick leave due to decreased mental health in 2018-2019 and 23% in 2022-2023. Furthermore, the score on the WEMWBS scale was 25 in the period 2018-2019 and 24.8 in the period 2022-2023, indicating persistent low mental health in the profession.

Detailed analysis highlights significant differences between countries, but a worrying trend consistently emerged: male veterinarians and female veterinarians in the early stages of their careers were most likely to experience a decline in mental well-being across Europe.

Despite increasing recognition and attention to veterinary mental health over the past decade, the study results underline the urgent need to implement meaningful measures. The importance of creating a more supportive and engaging workplace, prioritizing well-being, encouraging a healthy work-life balance and ensuring job satisfaction is highlighted.

This wake-up call not only highlights the current challenges facing the veterinary profession in Europe, but also emphasizes the need for collective action to ensure a sustainable and healthy future for animal health professionals.


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