This week's Insight episode discussed the mental ill health and overwhelming pressure many of Australia’s vets are facing. It sparked an outpouring of support towards vets from viewers, with many admitting they were unaware about just what was going on behind the closed doors of their local vet clinic.
On this week's Insight’s episode, Veterinary Care, veterinarians and vet nurses discussed the abuse they face from pet owners, the long hours, and the toll this all takes on their mental health.
One veterinarian, Margie Bale revealed how she was abused by an intoxicated pet owner after she finished treating a Maltese Terrier that had eaten an entire chicken. “Unfortunately the intoxicated man did actually grab me and push me up against a wall, grabbed me by the chest and then started to abuse me saying I'm only in it for the money and if I was a real vet I just would have done it for free to help him out.”
Margie’s story gained an overwhelming reaction from other vets and the general public with one person stating on Facebook:
“It is a very honorable profession and as necessary as human hospitals and deserve the same respect after all where would we be without our Vets who treat our fur babies...Respect for our Vets!”
The program revealed that vets are almost four times more likely to take their own lives than the general public. The episode featured the story of a young vet who took her own life. Her colleague, Sarah Morton described what she was like as a person and explained the impact her death has had on her.
“We were always really close,” says Sarah. “But you can't not go through something like that and be so raw with one another and see a level to each other that you don't really share with many people… But it's made me want to come here and talk because there's so much that we need to do as an industry to support people who want to go into this industry and help prepare them to be able to cope.”
Some viewers explained how unaware they were about the challenges vets face.
Many viewers also expressed their gratitude towards the vets who look after their animals so well.
“Thank you to all the vets and vet nurses and all who work in vet clinics! My animals are so precious to me and you guys are truly wonderful in all the care you give! Just remember most people appreciate you there is always that small group who you can never please or satisfy! I'm a nurse I know! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your amazing support and help!”
Full episode of Veterinarian care is now streaming on SBS On Demand.