Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) is having an enormous impact, not only on birds but also on the psychological, emotional and physical health of veterinarians and veterinary professionals working with affected producers and their flocks. There is a high risk for negative psychological effects such as compassion fatigue and acute and prolonged traumatic stress. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed in uncertain times and the added pressures and increased workload makes it difficult to manage emotional, psychological and physical health. The wellbeing of our avian veterinary colleagues is important  for the CVMA. We are proud of what you are doing and appreciate and care about you. We are here to support you and provide these  resources and information to help you take care of your  psychological and emotional health during this time.

Look out for one another. If you notice changes in your colleagues' behaviour make time to listen to their concerns. Although you are trained to do your veterinary job, you are not trained to deal with calls from stressed farmers so having a safe and supportive environment to talk it through with others will make a real difference.

Stay connected with your colleagues and check in at the end of the day. A text message can mean a lot to show that you are thinking of them and that you are OK to have a conversation

It is normal to feel that concerns and worries are getting the better of you. However it is not always healthy to keep these to yourself. Talking it out with others, be it a colleague or a professional, can help quite a bit. Mental health services are available through many of the Provincial Veterinary Medical Associations Employee Assistance Plan Providers (complete list here) and possibly through your veterinary work employee benefits as well. It is OK to be open and talk about difficult emotions and feelings.

EASAV Peer Support is available free for all Canadian veterinarians and RVTs. This virtual group offers a safe space to share your experiences with fellow veterinarians and RVTs who have training in peer support.  It is anonymous and confidential.

Togetherall is a digital 24/7/365 online peer support platform free for all CVMA members and student veterinarians including a closed group only for veterinarians and students. This is a peer to peer anonymous safe space to share feelings, support each other and start to feel better.  Open access to asynchronous courses, self-assessments, and resources. Licensed mental health practitioners are available 24/7/365 to support and welcome new members to the group, do risk assessments if concerns of harm to self or others are detected and connect those people to local crisis or emergency support for safety.

Take time out, even if it is for a few minutes here and there. It can be going for a walk or exercise, doing something with your family or friends, finding peaceful distraction with a hobby, or taking time out from devices. You deserve time to yourself. You need to take care of yourself so you can take care of others.

Get Help Now

If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis or has suicide-related concerns, please call 1-833-456-4566 toll free (In QC: 1-866-277-3553), 24/7 or visit talksuicide.ca.

1-833-456-4566 (24/7) 
1-866-277-3553 in Quebec (24/7) 
Text to 45645 (4 p.m. – Midnight ET). 


Assess your wellbeing: Well-being Assessment for Veterinarians

The Professional Quality of Life (ProQOL) Assessment is a self-administered test of 30 questions to help you understand your current balance of positive and negative personal and work-related experiences.

Animal Depopulation Resiliency Check-in Tool | Worksheet

This is a five-item resiliency check-in tool and worksheet developed by Dr. Elizabeth Strand, PhD, LCSW for the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, that can be used by veterinarians and other animal-related professionals who are preparing for, participating in, and recovering from animal-depopulation.

Tips for individual veterinary professional wellbeing and veterinary workplace wellbeing  

If you notice changes in your clients' behaviour such as struggling with stress or anxiety provide them with agriculture-specific mental health resources from domore.ag/crisis-contacts.

Infographics on mental health from chickenfarmers.ca Tips and Tricks for your Mental health and Mental Illness Affects Everyone.

Mental Health Resources from eggfarmers.ca and Mental Health Infographic from turkeyfarmersofcanada.ca