A free psychological support service has recently launched for veterinary and wildlife carers treating the millions of wildlife and livestock impacted by the fires.
The initiative is being led by veterinarian wellbeing charity Love Your Pet Love Your Vet who have partnered with the Australian Association of Psychologists Inc to connect those caring for animals on the frontline with volunteer registered psychologists.
Nearly half a billion animals have been impacted by the fires in NSW alone, with the total number of animals affected nationwide predicted to be as high as a billion. Those assisting with the treatment of wildlife and livestock are facing horrific sights, with many animals so badly injured they are having to be euthanised.
Veterinarians already face unprecedented psychological stresses on the job and have one of the highest rates of suicide worldwide. Those in the profession are four times more likely than the general population and twice as likely as other health professionals to suicide, making the need for accessible support services during this time of crisis all the more significant.
“Our veterinarians are already under immense pressure and may already be overwhelmed,” psychologist and Love Your Pet Love Your Vet founder Dr Nadine Hamilton said.
“The situation faced by our veterinary and wildlife carers as a result of the fires will no doubt be adding additional psychological stress, but there is support available. Don’t suffer in silence when it’s not necessary.”
The initiative is being supported by Royal Canin, PETstock VET and Greencross Vets, who have come on board to create awareness of the service through their network of veterinarians, rescue groups and other pet professionals.
Read more about Love Your Vet Love Your Vet in Vet Practice magazine.