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Students work to raise awareness about high suicide rate among veterinarians

Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 5:05 PM EST
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - A North Country animal science class is raising awareness about the high suicide rate among veterinarians. Our Kelly O’Brien reports on the numbers and how the class is trying to help.

With the amount of fun that happens inside the CV TEC animal science classrooms, you could mistake it for a playground.

“This class is probably the best class I’ve ever had,” said Adriona Rushford, a senior.

From jumping around with jalapeno and popper in their pen to giving a massive mastiff like Ferguson a proper bath, these seniors learn just about everything needed for the job.

“I do actually want to be a vet. I just love helping animals,” said Sadie Dumas, a CV TEC senior.

While some lessons are pretty fun, there are some hard ones, too.

“Suicide rates for vets are very high. Not a lot of people know that but it is something that should be noticed,” Rushford said.

Thoughts of suicide stem from the stress of the job-- the ethical decisions and dilemmas and the looming debt left from vet school.

“Veterinarians make only one-third of the salary that human doctors make,” said Erin Meyers a CV TEC animal science professor.

Veterinarians worldwide struggle and the pandemic is only adding fuel to the fire.

“They don’t have an easy job and I feel like they don’t get recognized enough for all the hard work they actually do,” said Chelsea Nelson, a CV TEC senior.

The nonprofit Not One More Vet or NOMV hopes to help students, doctors and everyone in between in the vet world know they are not alone.

Dr. Melanie Goble with the organization says this problem is not new and it’s growing.

“Depending on the study you look at, between one in four or one in six veterinarians have considered suicide. So, it’s not a small problem,” Goble said.

CV TEC is teaming up with NOMV on a local community project to personally thank vets around the region.

“I’m going to thank them for everything that they’ve done for the North Country and for all the animals around here,” Dumas said.

The cards are full of “Thank Ewes” for the care they give to our pets.

“We made little pop-up cards to make them extra special,” said Michael Betters, a CV TEC senior.

And the class reminds people a little kindness can go a long way.

“Please don’t hesitate; get involved,” Meyers urged.

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