Welcome to the IVMA’s Health & Wellness newsletter! I am very proud to introduce this month’s Hoosier Veterinarian, because many wonderful individuals have contributed to the concept of supporting our members in the areas of health and wellness. What makes one “healthy” and “well” obviously are going to vary from person to person. This edition keeps that in mind, and it is my hope that each of our members can find at least one idea they can take back to their home and working lives. The IVMA Health & Wellness Working Group, chaired by Dr. Kristi Graham, and in charge of developing this newsletter, wanted to move beyond raising awareness and firmly into the space of providing meaningful thoughts and tips to our members. I believe they have been successful in this task, and I thank them for their diligence over the last few months.
The AVMA launched an online Workplace Well-being Certificate Program in early May to connect all members of the veterinary team with resources for group and individual problem-solving centered around creating a culture of well-being. The program, made possible by an educational grant from Merck Animal Health, is free to all AVMA and Student AVMA members and is accessible to all members of the veterinary team for a fee. The late Dr. Linda Lord, academic and allied industry liaison lead for Merck Animal Health before her death May 23, said in a May 7 AVMA announcement about the new certificate program: “The Merck Animal Health Veterinary Well-being Study, which we released last year, revealed that only half of veterinarians with serious psychological distress are seeking help.
From veterinary school to practice: A year of challenges.
While any transition from school to practice is bound to be challenging, I found my transition especially difficult because of my struggles with mental health. Veterinary school was a whirlwind for me. Due to veterinary school’s pressurized culture, I felt I had to sacrifice other areas of my life in order to succeed. Simple things such as getting the adequate number of hours of sleep, finding time for family and friends, even reading a book for enjoyment were all but lost to time-consuming, demanding academics.
Health & Wellness
The days are getting shorter, well not really, but the amount of daylight each day is less. With less daylight, there seems to be less time to do all the things we need to do and a growing stack of new things that need to get done. Going into the office when it’s still dark and leaving when it’s already dark just seems so depressing. It’s SAD (literally).
What we typically call the “Winter Blues” is caused by not seeing the Sun with regularity, and some of us are affected a lot more than others. The number of people affected is constantly growing. Those thoughts and feelings have a clinical term, seasonal affective disorder (SAD).