by Carrie Jurney, DVM DACVIM
When we read about the veterinary suicide problem, I think a lot of us feel sympathetic, but detached from the situation. If you aren’t personally experiencing mental health and wellbeing problems, even the most compassionate person can feel like it’s not your problem. More than that it’s easy to feel powerless against such a big and scary thing. However, one Thursday afternoon I learned that this was in fact my problem, and I could in fact do something about it.
You can help people experiencing a mental wellbeing crisis. In fact, I would argue that those of us who work in the veterinary field have already honed many of the skills critical to compassionate crisis intervention. Certainly, when I did my first crisis intervention, I had no formal training. I got through it with the skills I had worked on in exam room for years. In this mic drop, I talk through my first crisis intervention, some of the skills that helped me through and what I’ve learned in my crisis counselor training since.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Unchartedvet.com editorial team.
“Carrie likes to refer to herself as a “”tragic extrovert.”” She brings enthusiasm to anything that she takes on.
As a passionate speaker about mental health, she brings this energy and humor to what otherwise can be a rather challenging and somber topic. Because of her work as the Director of Forum Moderators for the board of NOMV, she’s sought extensive continuing education in crisis counseling and suicide prevention. She brings this knowledge, and her experience doing peer to peer interventions with members of our group, to her lectures.
When she’s not managing the day to day activities of the NOMV forum, she is a practicing veterinary neurologist, wife to Chris and zoo keeper of three rambunctious cats.