In the Fall of 2020, a beloved rescue dog named Mia had a terrible accident and succumbed to her injuries. Mia’s Veterinarian, Dr. Kathy Gervais, encouraged Mia’s guardian Emily Scott to reach out to Dr. Katie Lawlor, a Doctor of Clinical Psychology who specializes in grief and loss. During their initial conversation, it was brought to Emily’s attention that veterinarians can suffer from high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation as a profession, given the often traumatic and heartbreaking nature of their work. Dr. Gervais confirmed these statistics, adding her own personal experiences, as well as the struggles and loss of colleagues. Despite these documented challenges, veterinary professionals remain severely underserved with regards to mental health care and support.
Together these three women immediately resolved to do something about this crisis, and it was from this collaboration the Veterinary Mental Health Initiative (VMHI) was founded.
We hope to honor Mia’s legacy through our heartfelt work and dedication to the veterinary medicine community.
Photo of Mia, courtesy of Mark Rogers Photography