Australia’s veterinarian suicide crisis sparks national LOST vets campaign 

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veterinary suicide crisis

A confronting suicide prevention campaign that highlights the mental health crisis within the veterinary profession has been launched across the nation by Sophie’s Legacy

Posters with the title ‘LOST’ and a photo of Dr Sophie Putland—a veterinarian who took her life in 2021—will be plastered on the back of buses and in busy public areas throughout metropolitan and regional Australia, in an effort to “help save the people who save our animals”. 

Vets and vet staff are four times more likely to die by suicide than people employed in other professions, Sophie’s dad and co-founder of Sophie’s Legacy, Garry Putland said. 

Sophie’s Legacy was founded by the family of Dr Sophie Putland, a young Melbourne based vet who died by suicide in 2021, shortly after she was verbally abused by an angry pet owner. 

The Putland family established the charity in 2022 after surveying vets, vet nurses and other veterinary staff to find out what needed to be done to address the mental health crisis within the profession. 

The survey results prompted Sophie’s Legacy to develop the award winning ‘We’re Only Human’ national awareness campaign in 2023—which saw thousands of posters sent to every vet clinic in Australia. 

Putland said the launch of the LOST campaign is “on a far bigger scale”, with hundreds of the charity’s supporters handing out LOST flyers at train stations and in busy public places. 

“We are so grateful to our supporters who are helping us shine a light on this issue. Sophie’s Legacy is quite literally saving the lives of the people who save our animals,” Putland said.

“It looks like a lost pet poster that you might see on a bus stop or at the shops, but tragically it’s a lost vets poster, with information about the suicide and mental health crisis within the profession. 

“The veterinarian profession is truly wonderful, and we want to make huge changes, so that those who are already in the job stay well and stay in it,” Putland added.

“Sophie’s Legacy also wants to make sure young people who want to work in the veterinary profession actually pursue it, with the knowledge that they will be cared for just as much as we care for our animals.”

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