Not one more vet. This was Dr. Nichol McArthur’s vision when she created the veterinary support group NOMV in 2014. Following the death from suicide of the renowned veterinarian Dr. Sophie Yin, Dr. McArthur formed a closed Facebook group where colleagues could discuss, as she called it, the “good, bad and ugly” of veterinary medicine.
The page grew, NOMV obtained nonprofit status and now the public site exceeds a following of more than 26,000 veterinary professionals at www.nomv.org. Not only that, the organization has developed expansive resources for all members of the veterinary community, from veterinarians and practice owners like me, to vet techs and support staff. Here, our community can tap into offerings such as crisis intervention, mental health resources, peer-to-peer support groups and financial crisis grants. There are programs geared toward new veterinary graduates as well, and crisis hotline numbers to call.
As the owner of Animal Vision Center of Virginia, I can speak to the responsibility of overseeing the care of the pet patients my staff and I treat. While we don’t deal with as many life-or-death situations as our colleagues in emergency and general practice, we do manage chronic ocular conditions in many of our patients over a lifetime—and we feel the pain our human clients experience with the loss of their animal family members.
Like our veterinary colleagues, we connect with each and every animal we see, and strive to treat them as we would our own; it is also difficult when owners fail to recognize our good intentions, or worse, become frustrated or angry regarding an outcome and place blame on members of the care team.
To support my staff, my practice offers ongoing wellness benefits and life coaching services, access to financial consultants and retirement plans, in addition to allowances for health / vision / dental insurance and paid vacation (among other benefits). It’s important that every team member take breaks when needed and have access to both physical and mental health services.
If you know of a member of our veterinary community who is struggling, please tell them about NOMV and encourage them to seek the many resources this organization offers at www.nomv.org. And, if you or anyone you know may be contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Hotline.
Animal Vision Center of Vision is proud to provide and fit our patients with “Collars for a Cause” E-Collars. For each collar we purchase, 100 percent of the net profits benefit Not One More Vet. This 501(c)(3) public charity provides resources and support to all members of veterinary teams and veterinary students who are struggling with their mental health or contemplating suicide. Together we can make a difference.