Mental health in the veterinary profession: an individual or organisational focus?

Aust Vet J. 2023 Jan;101(1-2):41-48. doi: 10.1111/avj.13215. Epub 2022 Nov 11.


The veterinary profession is experiencing a shortage of veterinarians, with attrition recognised as a substantial contributor. Research has also indicated increased levels of mental ill health and alarming suicide rates in practitioners. The primary aim of this study was to investigate the impact of eleven modifiable workplace factors on mental health outcomes, job appreciation and intention to leave the veterinary profession. The second aim was to ascertain whether workplace factors influence mental health outcomes after controlling for individual resilience. An online survey was completed by 73 practising Australian veterinarians. Unfavourable workplace factors correlated with adverse outcomes including depression, stress, reduced job appreciation and increased likelihood of leaving both the role and the profession. Workplace factors remained linked with the outcomes of job appreciation, depression and stress whilst controlling for practitioner resilience. Job appreciation was a significant predictor of intention to leave both the current role and the profession. Via multiple linear regression, two categories were identified as associated with improved psychological outcomes and job appreciation. These were workplace factors that represent breaks from workload and control or decision latitude in the workplace. Whilst resilience represents a key area for intervention, workplace factors potentially represent an easier-to-modify area for intervention.

Keywords: attrition; mental health; resilience; veterinarian; workplace factors.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Mental Health*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Veterinarians* / psychology
  • Workplace / psychology