Eamon O'Connell: Veterinary and farming are very stressful jobs - we need to help each other out
It's no surprise that farming has been listed as one of the top ten most stressful occupations in the world, writes Eamon O'Connell.
There is pressure from many sides: public perception, government regulations and farm-gate prices are all squeezing the primary producer.
I was always aware of how stressful farming can be, and recently I was worried to learn about the high level of stress in the veterinary profession.
Research has indicated that vets are four times more likely than the general public to die by suicide. This is a frightening statistic.
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A number of complex factors can be responsible.
The veterinary profession is becoming a more and more demanding place to work in. Client expectations are getting higher and there is an increased demand for the 'perfect' outcome.
Working hours can be very long, depending on the practice.
The financial stress involved in running a veterinary practice cannot be understated.
Also, especially for young vets, treating sick animals and trying to ensure the client's needs are met can be psychologically demanding and emotionally draining.
Veterinary Ireland has launched a new 'Vet Support Ireland' initiative to help support vets, nurses and staff in their mental health and wellness.
This is a very positive step. We all need to be more open and understanding when it comes to people's mental health and wellbeing.
As vets, we need to be acutely aware of the stress and strain that some farmers are under.
Similarly, farmers need to be mindful of the wellbeing of their vet or veterinary staff.
As farmers and vets, we are in this industry together and we must look out for each other more.
The majority are doing the very best they can every day.
We never know how somebody else is feeling at any given time. A kind word or a chat over a cup of tea could be all it takes to improve someone's day.
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