Virtual Meeting: Mental Health & COVID-19

Devoted exclusively to questions and concerns regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and well-being of veterinary workers.

COVID-19 has changed how we work and how we live in ways so profound as to be unimaginable only 6 weeks ago. Yet here we are, living through uncertainty, difficult emotions, and social isolation. At work, there are safety concerns, operational changes, concerns for job security, and growing financial constraints. For those who are not currently employed, there is personal financial distress. Whether you need help personally or want to know more so you can help others, please join us. We’re stronger together.



Holly earned her instructor certificate for Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in August 2010 and has been actively facilitating trainings since. She has facilitated MHFA trainings for a variety of organizations and individuals all over the state of Georgia and in South Carolina and Florida. In October 2017 Holly was named one of the top 100 MHFA instructors in the USA by the National Council for Behavioral Health.

Holly has over 30+ years’ experience in public behavioral health care with a degree in Health Information Management. She worked at Georgia Regional Hospital at Atlanta, the Georgia Mental Health Institute and the DeKalb Community Service Board. Throughout her career she was an advocate for patient rights and chaired the patient rights committee at both state hospitals, and redesigned and directed the patient rights program at the DeKalb Community Service Board.

While facilitating MHFA trainings, Holly uses stories and examples from her work experience as well as personal stories to illustrate some of the MHFA curriculum. She is retired from full time employment but stays current by attending meetings and educational seminars, and by supporting relevant organizations such as Mental Health America of Georgia, the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Georgia, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network and the National Council for Behavioral Health.


Dr. Laura Smallwood’s professional experience includes over 35 years in the practice of veterinary medicine, the majority of that as a small animal internal medicine specialist and practice owner. Dr. Smallwood began her study of Mindfulness early in 2016 as part of a collaboration to develop a 6-week Mindfulness-based stress resilience program for Saint Francis Veterinary Specialists. Since that time, she has been committed to the intensive study and practice of Mindfulness as a methodology for cultivating emotional intelligence, stress resilience and leadership skills with an emphasis on the development training programs specific to the veterinary profession. Dr. Smallwood has lectured and taught workshops on Mindfulness for the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA), the Alabama Veterinary Medical Association, Pathway Vet Alliance, and Saint Francis Veterinary Specialists and Emergency. She is is a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200) and is studying to become a Certified Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Teacher.


Dr. Tolleson received her master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Practice from Georgia State University. She currently teaches as a part-time instructor within the Counseling and Psychological Services department and continues to conduct research on resilience and work-related stress, including compassion fatigue, burnout, and moral distress. Dr. Tolleson is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor who specializes in trauma-informed, strengths-based, and creative approaches to counseling children adolescents, adults, and families in her private practice at Atlanta Innovative Counseling Center in Smyrna, Georgia. Her experience includes helping clients face a multitude of issues ranging from anxiety, depression, suicidal/self-harm ideation, grief, traumatic stress, family conflict, and self-esteem, among others.

RSVP for our next Meeting

April 28 @ 8pm

Difficult Emotions & Uncertain Times: A Mindful Veterinary Survival Guide during COVID-19