"Stress is in the environment. It's that fast pace. [Veterinarians] will do a euthanasia and not stop, and they'll go right to the next case. There's no processing of it."
Suicide statistics in the veterinary profession are sobering: a 2014 CDC study found that one in six veterinarians has considered suicide, and a British study found that the suicide rate in the veterinary profession might be up to four times higher than that of the general population.
But reading the statistics and experiencing the reality of these numbers are two very different things, as the veterinary community in Dallas learned last spring. Over the course of about a month last year, three veterinary workers there—two veterinary techs, and one veterinarian—died by suicide. We went to Dallas to talk to people in the veterinary community about the stresses of their profession, how they remember their colleagues who've died, and what they're doing to take care of each other now—and to prevent more suicides from happening in the future.
We're proud to partner with the Dallas Morning News for this story. They've produced a photo essay to take you inside the veterinary clinic we visited in Dallas, as well as a video that we've included below. Dr. Kathryn Konieska at the Center for Veterinary Specialty + Emergency Care talks about what the euthanasia process entails, including the emotional toll it can take on a vet.
If you’re considering suicide, or are worried about someone who might be, please get help. We’ve compiled a list of resources here. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255 and is open 24 hours a day.