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Stress at the Vet: Working Together for Pet’s Sake


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“The day I almost ended my life started like any other day,” says Dr. Kimberly Pope-Robinson in her book The Unspoken Life: Recognize Your Passion Embrace Imperfection and Stay Connected. Pope-Robinson came as close as you can to taking a fatal dose of Vicodin. She thought, ‘Do I do this? Do I take these pills and end my life? Or do I continue into the abyss that is nothing what I expected life to be?”

These days, Dr. Pope-Robinson now talks with veterinary professionals and vet students about mental health in the profession. In this exceedingly stressful time, Dr. Liz Bales and myself decided to feature her our interactive Human Animal Bond Association series, which you can tune into at watch HERE, Wednesday July 1, 9 p.m. ET (8 p.m. CT).  Joining in the conversation (by typing questions or comments), and the event is free and open to veterinary professionals as well as pet parents.

Stress is being felt by vet professionals and pet parents.

The truth is that the suicide rate in the veterinary profession is sky high. Over 70,000 veterinarians in the U.S. have led to disproportionately high suicide rates, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 400 veterinarians died by suicide between 1979 and 2015, according to a CDC study

And best anyone can tell the numbers hadn’t been declining, then the pandemic hit and the world changed, not only the work but home life for veterinary professionals, like all of us.

Dr. Kimberly Pope-Robinson

Simultaneously, due to the pandemic and unemployment, suicides are expected to rise in the U.S. As it is, suicides have been on the rise. Even before the pandemic, suicide rates haven’t been as high since World War II.

Dr. Pope-Robinson’s overriding message: “If your sinkers are over-taking you, you’re feeling like you’re falling? Well, you’re pretty normal. 1 Life Connected is about empowering yourself but not blaming or judging yourself or attempting to hide what you are feeling from yourself.”

Join in the free Facebook video event HERE, Wednesday July 1, 9 p.m. ET (8 p.m. CT).

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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