CVMA | Documents | NEWS RELEASE: National Veterinary Association Hosts Mental Health Awareness Week; Suicide Prevention Webinar

NEWS RELEASE: National Veterinary Association Hosts Mental Health Awareness Week; Suicide Prevention Webinar

September 6, 2019

Ottawa, Ont. – The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) has partnered with Merck Animal Health to promote our inaugural Mental Health Awareness Week from September 9 – 15, 2019 to bring awareness to and provide resources for mental health issues in the veterinary community.

It’s Time to Talk about Mental Health in Veterinary Medicine Awareness Week features a suicide awareness and prevention webinar, airing on National Suicide Awareness Day, September 10, 2019.

The webinar, running live from 12 – 1 p.m. EST and 6 – 7 p.m. EST, will provide participants with coping strategies, steps to help distressed coworkers, and a list of provincial and community mental health resources. A live French webinar will air on September 30, from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. EST.

“One in five Canadian veterinarians and technologists have reported suicide ideation, burnout, and depression. Veterinarians have a higher suicide rate than those of medical doctors and the general population,” says Dr. Melanie Hicks, President of the CVMA. “It is important that we support veterinary teams and provide them with the tools they need to cope with the extreme circumstances of this profession.”

Difficult to see, mental health issues affect many people working in veterinary clinics. Stigma is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome. Merck Animal Health and the CVMA are leading the way to start open and honest conversations about mental health in the veterinary community, help breakdown stigma, and create a community where members look out for and help one another.

“Our goal is to help develop a suicide safe community of veterinary professionals who keep themselves safe and are aware of suicidal thoughts and warning signs,” says Dr. Kathy Keil, Merck Technical Services Veterinarian and facilitator of the suicide awareness webinar. “So many of my colleagues have been touched by suicide. It’s time we have as many eyes and ears on the ground as possible to keep each other safe.”

More information about Mental Health Awareness Week and webinars can be found on the CVMA website at

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*Note: The French webinar will be facilitated by Dr. Martine Baillairgé, chair of the Association des médecins vétérinaires du Québec (AMVQ) wellness committee.

About the CVMA
The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) is the national and international voice for Canada’s more than 12,500 veterinarians, providing leadership and advocacy for veterinary medicine. Visit to learn more about the CVMA.

About Merck Animal Health
Today’s Merck is a global healthcare leader working to help the world be well. Merck Animal Health, known as MSD Animal Health outside the United States and Canada, is the global animal health business unit of Merck. Merck Animal Health is dedicated to preserving and improving the health, well-being and performance of animals. For more information, visit us online at

Lori Tarbett, Canadian Veterinary Medical Association
613-236-1162 ext. 128