BluePearl launches wellness program for associates

July 6, 2020
dvm360 Staff

The corporate veterinary hospital chain recently launched a year-long program that aims to improve mental health and wellbeing among associates.

Mental health has long been a concern in the veterinary profession. According to 2018 statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, veterinarians are at disproportionate risk for suicide, and the topic has been much discussed throughout the profession in recent years. In an effort to prevent worsening mental health among its associates, BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital recently launched the Micro Steps to Wellness program.

The corporation’s goal is to provide its more than 5,900 associates with small, monthly steps that aim to help reduce elevated health risks and create healthy lifestyle habits in an effort to prevent depression, burnout and compassion fatigue. According to a BluePearl press release, each micro step is intended to be “habit stacked, meaning each action can be simultaneously practiced throughout the day, month, or year” either at home or in the hospital.

Angela Calderone, vice president of people and organization at BluePearl, said, “Now more than ever, we as an organization have a responsibility to recognize the mental health and wellbeing needs of our associates and provide them easy access to the tools and professionals they need to help cope with the mounting pressures they face each day.”

Speaking to the effectiveness of wellness programs, Lori Harbert, MSW, LCSW, director of health and well-being at BluePearl, which includes more than 90 veterinary practices in 26 U.S. states, said, “This program encourages our associates to take their wellness as well as the wellness of their colleagues seriously. By implementing proven to work, positive behavioral habits in our practices, we hope to open the gateway to healthier living across the veterinary profession.”

June 1 marked the launch of the first micro step, Paws for Wellness, which encouraged associates to take brief breaks to improve their attitude, concentration and happiness, while reducing stress. Additional planned micro steps include guided meditation videos, healthy eating potlucks, participation in National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and an introduction to gratitude journaling.