Damien Solley knows first hand that mental health problems are intertwined with working in the veterinarian industry.
He believes a chronic shortage of veterinarians in Canberra is a contributing factor, coupled with compassion fatigue, long hours and stress.
After months of being unable to employ sufficient veterinarians to cope with the workload at the Animal Emergency Centre Canberra, Dr Solley had little choice but to join forces with the Animal Referral Hospital brand to help alleviate the pressure on himself and his colleagues.
“Suicide rates in our industry are pretty high,” he said.
“They’re overworked, do long hours and standardized vet wages against inflation haven’t changed in 25 years.
“The average wage is dropping through the floor.”
Dr Solley said veterinarians were often picked up by the public service, due to better wages and conditions, and he feels it might be nearly time to move on to another profession after 15 years.
He said his wife, Amanda, also a vet, has asked him to leave the industry multiple times.