Pulse - April 2021 - 21

DEAR TABBY

Joint Statement from AAVMC/AVMA
Regarding Mental Health and Suicide
in the Veterinary Profession

T

his has been a difficult year for many, and in the
past week we have heard reports of veterinary
colleagues who have died by suicide. Mental health concerns are complex and multi-faceted,
and although we may not fully understand what an
individual is experiencing, the American Veterinary
Medical Association (AVMA) and the Association of
American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC)
know that our profession can work to offer hope
and help save lives.
There are supports and resources available for those personally struggling-and for those searching for a way to best support a colleague or loved one who is struggling. We are not
alone in veterinary medicine. We share our grief and concerns
with many of our fellow health professionals. There is hope
and a path forward with compassion, connection, evidencebased practices, and working in collaboration with suicide
prevention experts.
In November 2019, a toolkit for colleges of veterinary
medicine was created by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) in partnership with the AVMA and
the AAVMC. This toolkit provides guidance in the event of
a death by suicide of a student within a school or college of
veterinary medicine. This toolkit contains strategies for helping the veterinary medical community:
*	 Best practices for how college leaders and staff respond in
the immediate aftermath of a suicide
*	 Strategies for helping the community grieve and cope in
the short and long-term
*	 Safe reporting guidelines for working with the media and
community partners
*	 Information on how to safely memorialize individuals, and
reduce the risk of suicide contagion by supporting community members who may be vulnerable 

When we share news about an individual's death by suicide,
it is very important that the information shared is accurate,
factual, consistent with harm reduction measures, and honors
the family's requests, including any requests for privacy.
Media posts and postvention efforts must also take into
consideration the cultural diversity of everyone affected by
a suicide, including the family, workplace, and community.
Culture may significantly affect the way people view and
respond to suicide and death. Therefore, it is important to
be sensitive to the beliefs and customs of the decedent's
family and community, and potential perceptions regarding
individuals outside of the family or community intervening
to provide support.
The AVMA's Jen Brandt, Director of Wellbeing, Diversity
and Inclusion Initiatives, and the AAVMC's Makenzie Peterson, Director for Wellbeing, will be hosting a webinar for the
veterinary community on a systems-based approach to supporting mental health and suicide on Thursday, March 18th,
from 1pm-3pm EST. This webinar will provide information,
education, and support, with resources developed in collaboration with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Webinar registration information will be forthcoming. P

Paul Lunn, BVSc, PhD
AAVMC President

Next steps for suicide prevention
In September 2020, a similar toolkit for veterinary workplaces was created by the ASFP and the AVMA in partnership
with the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in
America, Veterinary Medical Association Executives and the
Veterinary Hospital Manager's Association. 
Because of the risk of suicide contagion related to the
amount, duration, prominence, and content of media coverage, it is important that media reporting adheres to safe
reporting guidelines.

PULSE

APRIL 2021

Doug Kratt, DVM
AVMA President

21



Pulse - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pulse - April 2021

Pulse - April 2021
Chapter Meetings & Calendar
President’s Perspective
SCVMA Profile
Pulsepoints
Practical Pathology
Optimizing Veterinary Practice Staff Increases Efficiency and Retains Clients
Medical Leeway
UC Davis Update
Tools for Success
Angel Fund
Dear Tabby
The RVT
Industry Insights
Quick Reference
Digital Photography for Veterinarians
AVMA Diplomates
Resources
Disease Table
From the SCVMA Office
Pulse - April 2021 - Pulse - April 2021
Pulse - April 2021 - Cover2
Pulse - April 2021 - 1
Pulse - April 2021 - 2
Pulse - April 2021 - Chapter Meetings & Calendar
Pulse - April 2021 - President’s Perspective
Pulse - April 2021 - SCVMA Profile
Pulse - April 2021 - 6
Pulse - April 2021 - Pulsepoints
Pulse - April 2021 - 8
Pulse - April 2021 - 9
Pulse - April 2021 - 10
Pulse - April 2021 - Practical Pathology
Pulse - April 2021 - Optimizing Veterinary Practice Staff Increases Efficiency and Retains Clients
Pulse - April 2021 - 13
Pulse - April 2021 - 14
Pulse - April 2021 - 15
Pulse - April 2021 - Medical Leeway
Pulse - April 2021 - 17
Pulse - April 2021 - UC Davis Update
Pulse - April 2021 - Tools for Success
Pulse - April 2021 - Angel Fund
Pulse - April 2021 - Dear Tabby
Pulse - April 2021 - The RVT
Pulse - April 2021 - Industry Insights
Pulse - April 2021 - Quick Reference
Pulse - April 2021 - Digital Photography for Veterinarians
Pulse - April 2021 - 26
Pulse - April 2021 - 27
Pulse - April 2021 - 28
Pulse - April 2021 - AVMA Diplomates
Pulse - April 2021 - Resources
Pulse - April 2021 - Disease Table
Pulse - April 2021 - 32
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Pulse - April 2021 - From the SCVMA Office
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