The scourge of suicide in veterinary medicine

March 12, 2021
dvm360 Staff

The veterinary community is once again mourning one of its own due to suicide. Listen in as 3 veterinarians discuss this heartbreaking news and share their thoughts on suicide prevention efforts in the profession.

Editor's note: This article includes discussion of suicide, depression, and mental health issues. If you are experiencing feelings of depression or suicidal ideation, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK; 800-273-8255; suicidepreventionlifeline.org). It's 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No matter what problems you are dealing with, people on the other end of the line will help you find a reason to keep living.

According to American Medical Veterinary Association data, 1 in 6 veterinarians have contemplated suicide, an alarming statistic that hit close to home once again when beloved Wisconsin veterinarian Josh Smith, DVM, took his own life earlier this month.

Today, dvm360’s® Chief Veterinary Officer Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, sat down with Mariana Pardo, DVM, a criticalist at the Veterinary Medical Center of Long Island; Kai Shiu, BVMS, MRCVS, DACVIM (Oncology), a veterinary oncologist in Madison, Wisconsin; and Carrie Jurney, DVM, DACVIM (Neurology), CCFP, vice president of Not One More Vet, to talk about the huge void Smith's death has left in both the national and international veterinary communities and how the profession can help prevent such tragedies in the future.

Shui and Pardo, close friends of the late veterinarian, share what his loss means to them personally and the profession as a whole. The trio also discusses measures that can be implemented to tackle this issue, such as making suicide prevention training mandatory.

“I don’t want this to happen anymore. This is the first time it’s been this close,” Pardo told Christman.

Shui echoed similar sentiments. ”A lot of people are mourning. I’m trying to do everything I can to help further this movement.”

Jurney, who has made it her mission to help promote conversations surrounding veterinary well-being, emphasized the need to talk more about suicide and raise awareness about the many resources available to veterinary clinics. “You’re not alone,” she says.

Watch the compelling and informative interview by clicking the image below.