Looking after your welfare
The Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of those in the veterinary team, including students, veterinary nurses, veterinary surgeons and practice managers. MMI was launched in 2015 and is funded and run by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the regulatory body for veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses in the UK.
Mind Matters offer mental health awareness training and try to break down the stigma associated with mental ill-health. They also develop and support resources and courses to help students, vets, nurses and practice managers to flourish, and, when needed, to get back on form.
Their programme is divided into five streams of activity:
- Learning and understanding best practice – research within the veterinary profession, for example, into occupational stress factors; and among other related professions and private and public sector organisations that have successfully tackled similar issues
- Changing the culture – a programme of communications activities to help generate a positive environment for discussion, reduce stigma, increase awareness and the ability to identify risks, and encourage help-seeking behaviour
- Personal support – financial and other support for existing independent services, such as the independently run Vetlife Helpline and Vetlife Health Support, together with an investigation into what more may be required to support those in need, and catalysing the development of those services
- Supporting the supporters – training and guidance for those who may be working or living with someone who needs assistance, in order to help supporters spot and understand signs of stress and mental illness, and help the person seek expert help
- Making changes – working closely with the joint RCVS/British Veterinary Association Vet Futures project (vetfutures.org.uk) to help identify aspects of how the profession is structured and run (from student to retirement) that exacerbate stress and mental health problems – and consider how they may be addressed
Please remember, Mind Matters is not your first port of call if you are in crisis or need direct and immediate help. If there is something troubling you now, please call the Vetlife helpline on 0303 040 2551 or visit the Vetlife website.
Vetlife is a charity that provides independent, confidential and free help for everyone in the veterinary community including veterinary nurses and students.
It provides a 24/7 phone helpline (0303 040 2551) and anonymous email service; professional mental health support; financial assistance; information and resources.
Please visit the Vetlife website for more information.