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‘After a suicide’: Suicide prevention group, veterinary organizations develop free resource

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Photo: kali9/iStockphoto

New York — The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has teamed up with multiple veterinary organizations to develop a free resource guide designed to support workplaces in the aftermath of a veterinary worker’s death by suicide and help prevent additional deaths.

Veterinarians have a suicide rate up to 3.5 times greater than that of the general population, according to a study published in January 2019 by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“After a Suicide: A Guide to Veterinary Workplaces” was developed in partnership with AVMA, the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America, the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association and the Veterinary Medical Association Executives, according to a Sept. 29 press release. This guide includes:

  • How workplace leaders and staff should respond in the immediate aftermath of a suicide
  • Guidance on helping the workplace community grieve and cope in the short and long term
  • Tips on working with the media and community partners
  • Information on how to safely memorialize employees, as well as identify and support members of the community who may be vulnerable to reduce the risk of suicide contagion

“At a time when people across our society, including veterinarians and their staffs, are experiencing great stress, I am very grateful to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for their expertise and collaboration in developing this essential mental health resource for our members,” AVMA President Douglas Kratt said in the release. “The guide will ensure that our members and their teams get the critical support they need in the event of a colleague’s suicide death, and help to prevent future deaths by suicide.”

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