Veterinarians are at a greater risk of dying by suicide than the rest of the general population a new study has shown. To help vet students with mental health issues and help them manage stress, the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine has created new policies, such as making all classes for first-year vet students pass/fail. This is intended to ease some of the pressure as students transition to a rigorous program.
Fourth-year students have been given established working hours during clinical rotations to alleviate some stress. Additionally, the school has increased the amount of scholarships it offers to students in an effort to reduce some of the debt load veterinarians graduate school with.
Vet students typically take anywhere from 25 to 30 credits each semester, which is more than many students take in an entire year. Many graduate with a student-loan debt of nearly $200,000. It has been hypothesized that the mental health issues veterinarians face begins in graduate school, when pressure begins mounting.
Students and faculty at the school are working together to create a healthier school and work environment. In September, a new policy allows for students to have one day off for every seven days of work; it also allows students a 30-minute break every 6 hours during their clinical rotations.
Wellness Wednesdays are also an option, allowing students a place to speak and learn about issues facing the veterinary community, as well as how to address them. Creating a mentorship program also fosters a sense of camaraderie, making students feel included and not isolated.
Read more at the Minnesota Daily.
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