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Call for researchers to participate in upcoming biennial Mind Matters Symposium

3 February 2021

The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative (MMI) is calling on researchers from the UK and beyond who are working in the areas of mental health and wellbeing in the veterinary professions to submit their research papers for the upcoming Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium this autumn.

Dr Alexandra Pitman talking at the Mind Matters Research Symposium in September 2019 The event (pictured right from the 2019 Symposium), which will be taking place entirely online on Wednesday 24 November 2021, is titled ‘Understanding and supporting veterinary mental health’ and aims to bring together researchers from across the world who are interested in all aspects of the mental health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals.

MMI is now looking for researchers to submit abstracts so that they can present their research in 15-minute talks during the course of the Symposium.

Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters Manager, says: “In previous Symposiums we have had researchers from across the world, including Australia, the United States, Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands, presenting their research. We hope that, particularly as the Symposium is now entirely online, the international nature of this event will be repeated because it is really important to compare and contrast the veterinary professions across different countries.

“The nature of the research has also been a fascinating insight into the work that is going into the areas of diagnosis, treatment and prevention, covering everything from the prevalence of burnout among veterinarians, to the wellbeing of government vets, to how stress and unease can be converted to confidence and harmony through effective continuing professional development.

“We look forward to seeing the interesting range of abstracts that I’m sure will be submitted this year and I would like to thank Dr Rosie Allister, who is a member of the Mind Matters Taskforce and a veterinary mental health researcher, for organising the event once again this year.”

Abstracts should be no longer than 250 words and include: background; clear and explicit aims and objectives, hypotheses or research questions; methods; results; discussion; and conclusion.

All abstracts should be submitted as Word documents to Rosie Allister, who also manages the Vetlife Helpline, on rosie.allister@gmail.com by Tuesday 6 April 2021. Applicants will be notified if they have been successful within 14 days of this date. Speakers whose applications are successful will receive complimentary registration for the symposium.

In addition to any submitted research, the Symposium will feature presentations from recipients of the Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grants awarded by MMI in 2019 and 2020. These include:

  • Experiences of racism and its impacts on mental wellbeing in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people working and studying in the veterinary sector: Dr Navaratnam Partheeban, Dr Victoria Crossley and Naomi King, Royal Veterinary College
  • How farm vets cope: An exploration of how vets cope with the daily challenges of farm animal practice and how best these coping mechanisms might be developed into tools which can be easily accessed by the livestock veterinary community: Dr Kate Stephen, Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC)
  • Moral injury in the veterinary professions: Professor Neil Greenberg and Dr Victoria Williamson, King's College London

Those who have any further questions about submitting an abstract can contact Lisa Quigley on l.quigley@rcvs.org.uk for an informal chat about the process.

The full agenda for the Symposium, including how to sign up to attend, will be published in the summer.

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