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Register now for international insight into veterinary mental health at MMI Research Symposium

8 September 2021

The RCVS Mind Matters Initiative’s third Mental Health Research Symposium is now open for registrations and will see veterinary professionals from across the globe attend to present their latest research and insight into veterinary mental health and wellbeing.

The symposium will take place live online from 10am on Wednesday 24 November and will feature presentations from researchers based in the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as from the UK. To register for the event visit the dedicated Mind Matters events page

Susan DawsonProfessor Susan Dawson (pictured), Chair of the Mind Matters Taskforce, will introduce the event and will be followed by the Symposium’s plenary speaker, Rory O’Connor, Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Glasgow and President of the International Association for Suicide Prevention.

Professor O’Connor’s talk, ‘When It is Darkest: Understanding Suicide Risk’ will draw upon his extensive research and work on the psychological processes which precipitate suicidal behaviour and self-harm, an area of expertise that has seen him advise the Scottish Government, as well as other national and international organisations, on suicide prevention strategies.

Following Professor O’Connor’s speech there will be presentations on studies funded by the 2020 Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant in which £20,000 was awarded to two separate research teams looking into veterinary mental health and wellbeing.

The first presentation will be from Dr Victoria Crossley from the Royal Veterinary College and Navaratnam Partheeban, co-founder of the British Veterinary Ethnicity & Diversity Society (BVEDS), on their research into the mental health impact of racism and discrimination on Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) veterinarians.

The second presentation is from Professor Neil Greenberg and Dr Victoria Williamson from King’s College London on their research into the impact of ‘moral injury’ on the mental health and wellbeing of veterinarians. Morally injurious events are defined as experiences which violate one's moral or ethical code.

The course of the day will then split into different research streams with presentations on a wide variety of topics including: the impact of cyberbullying and harassment; the wellbeing of veterinary interns and residents; stigma and stress in veterinary nursing; mental health awareness training in the undergraduate veterinary curriculum; and the relationship between ‘patient safety culture’ and staff burnout.

Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters Manager, says: “As with previous years the Mind Matters Mental Health Research Symposium promises to be a very informative and important day in terms of international researchers coming together to share their research, their conclusions, areas for further work and study, and best practice. Some of the topics we will be discussing, such as suicide, will be difficult, but research into issues affecting the international veterinary community is a vital first step to putting in place strategies and support mechanisms to help those in need. This is why research will be one of the key strategic priorities for the Mind Matters Initiative and our forthcoming actions in this area will be published later this year in our Mind Matters Initiative Strategic Plan.

“I would like to thank Dr Rosie Allister, a veterinary mental health researcher from the University of Edinburgh and manager of Vetlife Helpline, for putting together an excellent programme. As with previous years we are also offering free attendance of the symposium to those who have lived experience of mental ill-health, those who are currently not working, and veterinary and veterinary nursing students. If you have any queries about the event, please don’t hesitate to contact me on l.quigley@rcvs.org.uk to discuss further.”

For further details on the day and registration, please visit the Mind Matters Initiative's Events page. Please note that, for those not eligible for free attendance, the cost of registration is £10.

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