Veterinary Wellbeing Alliance Newsletter, Issue 5

GEORGIA EDITION  •  Newsletter  •  Issue 5, 2022

Dear Subscriber:

Here is the latest update from the Veterinary Wellbeing Alliance, with professionally curated content to help veterinary professionals focus on their well-being.

This pilot project was launched through a partnership between Veterinary Medical Association Executives and Listeners On Call, which provides complimentary access to its services through the Alliance. Sixteen professional and industry organizations offered support to the project, two of which are highlighted below.

If you have questions or comments on the newsletter, the service from Listeners On Call, or the Veterinary Wellbeing Alliance, you may contact Dr. Keri Riddick, CEO of Georgia VMA, at keri@gvma.net, or Adrian Hochstadt, VMAE CEO, at adrianhochstadt@vmae.org.

To view a video on the Veterinary Wellbeing Alliance, click here.

Understanding your communication style

Communicating with a wide variety of individuals and personalities in the field of veterinary medicine can be taxing, and changing our communication style to match each situation and exam room we find ourselves in can put a strain on our sense of self.

Understanding our own communication style can help keep us grounded when life presents challenging opportunities. Listeners On Call this month offers advice to help us understand our communication style by thinking back on our experiences and getting outside feedback.

To read LOC’s full article on how to assess the ways we best communicate, click here.


What if businesses publicly reported on their employees’ well-being?

Most employees and executives in a recent survey by Deloitte said companies should be required to publicly report workforce well-being metrics. They also said they’d trust their company more if it did so, and they’d be more willing to work for a company that publicly reported on well-being.

Publicly disclosing metrics on worker well-being may seem radical, but it has a precedent in environmental, social and governance reporting. As ESG has become more important to customers, investors and workers, companies have begun publicly disclosing those metrics. It’s even required now in many countries, including the United States.

“The same could happen with well-being as public interest grows,” Deloitte’s authors write. “Well-being touches every worker and their families, and many want something done about it.”

As well-being becomes a major part of public discourse and employers scramble to keep their staff, “organizations have much to gain from metrics that can help them better understand well-being and communicate about it to their stakeholders,” the authors say.

For a clearer picture of what metrics organizations could report, read the full article from Deloitte Insights.


Most workers want to work with a company that actively supports employee mental health, survey shows

Eighty-one percent of workers in a recent survey said they’re seeking jobs with companies that actively support employee mental health.

“A typical adult spends one-third of their life working—it’s not possible for employees to leave issues at the door when they arrive at work,” said Dennis P. Stolle, a senior director at the American Psychological Association, which commissioned the report. The Harris Poll conducted the survey of about 2,000 U.S. adults.

Eighteen percent of workers described their workplace as somewhat or very toxic, and one-third said they’d experienced physical violence, verbal abuse or harassment at work in the past year.

At the same time, 71% of respondents said they believe their employer is more concerned about employees’ mental health now than they were in the past. “This is good news,” Stolle told Healthline.

In addition to mental health support, the survey showed workers would also like:

•    More flexible work hours (41%).
•    A culture that respects paid time off (34%).
•    The ability to work remotely (33%).
•    A four-day work week (31%).


Workplace leaders play a key role in reducing mental health stigma

Stigma attached to mental health conditions has dissipated in many parts of society, but it still exists in many professions, including health care.

Workplace leaders have a critical role to play in reducing that stigma, say two professors at Hofstra-Northwell’s School of Medicine.

“Until employees recognize that leadership is serious about treating mental health as a necessary part of health care, stigma will continue to exist,” Drs. Soteri Polyderou and Manish Sapra write in Psychology Today. “Without such recognition from leadership, the impact is likely to negatively affect those in the organization; they will dismiss or intentionally hide their symptoms. This is tragic because effective treatments are available.”

Employers can amend the problem by creating an environment where employees feel safe talking about their needs and by eliminating discriminatory language, the authors write—for example, saying “a person with a substance use disorder” rather than “drug addict” or “alcoholic.”

Companies can also promote mental wellness by including behavioral health benefits in their employee health care packages, the authors say.


Project Healthy Minds wants to improve the future of workplace mental health

A new nonprofit wants to help companies improve their mental health resources and reduce stigma around mental illness.

The organization, Project Healthy Minds, is creating what it calls the “first direct-to-consumer digital mental health marketplace.” Visitors to the site will be able to find crisis hotlines, mental health professionals, substance abuse treatment programs and other assistance.

“We want to build an Expedia.com for mental health services,” said Phillip Schermer, founder and CEO of Project Healthy Minds.

The organization plans to partner with business leaders, celebrities and public officials who will talk openly about the importance of mental health, including their own struggles, Axios reports.

Finally, Project Healthy Minds wants to create national standards to guide companies’ mental health initiatives.

A survey by the group found that while two out of three millennial and Generation Z workers consider mental health when choosing an employer, only half say their employer is supportive of their mental health.

McCann Worldgroup hired Project Healthy Minds to build a mental health training program for its executive board and other senior executives. According to Schermer, the curriculum was built in collaboration with the National Network of Depression Centers.

Bill Kolb, chairman and former CEO of McCann, said that during the pandemic, following several employee suicides, he called McCann’s employee assistance program hotline as a test and was kept on hold for 12 minutes. This prompted the company’s leadership to launch new mental health initiatives, including training all workers to be able to recognize emotional distress in colleagues.

Founding Patrons

Circa Healthcare: As a strategic communications and marketing company focused on animal health for over 15 years, Circa has been fortunate to work with many wonderful people in the profession from manufacturers to veterinary team members. Our investment in the industry includes working on multiple initiatives in the industry that promote the wellbeing and future of the veterinary profession. In collaboration with partners and experts in the field, we presented a virtual mental wellness project, The Mindful Practice in 2021. We are also a founding sponsor of a European wellness app and website called Vets In Mind (https://www.vets-in-mind.org/). Being a founding sponsor of the Veterinary Wellbeing Alliance is well aligned with our commitment to the future of the veterinary profession.

Midwest Veterinary Supply: As a family and employee-owned organization since 1961, we take pride in representing more than just products within the animal health industry. We are a full-service partner for veterinary practices providing business resources that can increase efficiencies and reduce workload stress so that veterinary professionals can focus on their passion of caring for animals. We recognize the difficult challenges associated with compassion fatigue and work-related stress and are in full support of the mental health needs of our veterinary partners and our employees. Midwest created our “eCollars For A Cause” campaigns to raise funds for important initiatives in our communities whose focuses are on finding cures, and providing mental health programs for families, caregivers, and patients. The foundations we have supported include Susan G. Komen, The Fisher House Foundation, Hope for Warriors, and Alex’s Lemonade Stand.  We are currently in partnership and raising funds for Not One More Vet, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the mental health support for all members of veterinary teams and students who are struggling or considering suicide. We are proud to support the wellness and grant programs of NOMV (nomv.org) and invest in resources for the mental health of the veterinary community we serve. To learn more about our “eCollars for Cause” programs visit www.midwestvetsupply.com.

Copyright © Veterinary Wellbeing Alliance



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