Mental health affects many, including veterinary professionals

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 marks the 10th annual #BellLetsTalk Day campaign. This year’s theme is Mental Health: Every Action Counts. Once again, Bell will raise funds towards mental health initiatives in Canada by donating 5 cents for every original tweet or retweet featuring #BellLetsTalk. They will also donate 5 cents for each view of their Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube videos, view and use of their Facebook frame or Snapchat filter, and applicable text messages sent by a Bell Mobility user.

#BellLetsTalk Day was launched in 2010 to spotlight awareness, acceptance, and action in mental health. It has become one of the most successful social media campaigns in the country. In 2012, only 42% of Canadians reported being comfortable speaking with others about mental health. In a 2019 survey by Nielsen Consumer Insights, 84% of Canadians now say they feel comfortable sharing their mental health experiences.

In Our Hospitals

Mental health is a challenge for many health care practitioners and veterinary professionals are no exception. Every day, veterinary teams are faced with a variety of cases causing a roller coaster of emotions. Life threatening diagnoses, emergency cases, and euthanasias can lead to depression, burn-out, and compassion fatigue. Mental health touches the lives of everyone from our veterinary technicians, practice managers, doctors, and more.

To help our veterinary teams, we share stories of members who have and continue to face ongoing struggles. We share inspiring videos in the hopes of ending the stigma around mental health. And we encourage those needing help to reach out, to start a conversation with a trusted friend or colleague, or to seek professional advice and counselling using our Employee Assistance Program.

Resources for Immediate Help

Below are some Canadian helplines and websites that you can use or recommend to someone who you know is struggling. Keeping the dialogue open is key to getting proper care, and so is reaching out to the resource that is right for you.

  • Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – At VetStrategy, we offer all our employees access to an Employee Assistance Program. This confidential employee support service is available to every team member 24/7. Anyone that calls can schedule phone, video, or in-person sessions with a counselling professional. Blogs and podcasts are also available.

“We believe in taking care of our team members and part of our commitment to them is ensuring they have access to tools and resources to support them both at work and in their personal lives. Whether it’s challenges with mental health support, financial advice, health concerns, or any of life’s big events, we’ve got their back.”

– Amanda McCue, Director, Human Resources

  • Crisis Services Canada – A nationwide network of crisis service centres with 24/7 lines for anyone that is thinking about or is affected by suicide.
  • Mental Health Commission of Canada – One of their many initiatives are Mental Health First Aid courses that train teams on how to provide proper support for those who may be struggling with a mental health crisis.
  • The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health – With offices across Ontario, CAMH provides a wide variety of clinical care services for patients in the province as well as a directory of local crisis response teams. They also offer guidelines and links to resources for those living outside of Ontario.
Veterinary-Specific Resources
  • – The OVMA developed a new website specifically for veterinarians to help improve their mental well-being through podcasts, info sheets, and helpful links.
  • – Dr. Marie Holowaychuk, a critical care specialist focusing on wellness in veterinary medicine, offers many podcasts and blogs about the topic.
  • The CVMA’s “It’s Time To Talk About Mental Health In Veterinary Medicine” Week – Started in September 2019, the CVMA continues to offer follow-up webinars every two to three months on mental health. The next webinar is scheduled on #BellLetsTalk Day. Webinars are open to all CVMA and non-CVMA veterinarians, veterinary hospitals, and any team members working in a veterinary clinic.

We encourage anyone needing help to reach out, to start a conversation with a trusted friend or colleague, and/or to seek professional advice and counselling using your employer’s Employee Assistance Program.


#BellLetsTalk #mentalhealth #mentalillness #MentalHealthIsHealth