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VIN CARE100-0921: Colleagues and Staff in Crisis – Suicide Awareness and Mental Wellbeing

The lectures for this course will be presented in an audio format using a webinar platform.

Presenters: Bree Montana, DVM, CCFP
Michele Gaspar, DVM, MS, DABVP
Susan Cohen, DSW
Course Open: September 7-October 8, 2021
Real Time Sessions (RTS): Tuesdays, September 14, 21, and 28, 2021; 9:00-11:00 pm ET (USA) World Clock Converter
Total CE Credit: 6
RACE Category: 6 hours Non-Medical

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Course Information:
Stress within the veterinary field is at an all-time high and takes a toll on all members of the team. Unfortunately, the pressures of veterinary practice, possible genetic predisposition, and personal experiences lead some doctors, technicians, and others to end their own lives. Several surveys have found that both thoughts of suicide and completed acts are higher among animal health professionals than nearly any other group. In this course we will discuss the risk factors for suicide, recognizing common causes of suicide, and how to get help for someone in crisis.

The course instructors are members of the VIN Foundation's Vets4Vets® team. The VIN Foundation is a nonprofit providing helpful resources to veterinarians throughout their careers. All resources are available at NO COST thanks to individual donors. VIN membership is not required to utilize the VIN Foundation resources.

Veterinarians and Veterinary Students
Vets4Vets® is a confidential peer-to-peer support group available for veterinary students and veterinarians. Learn more about Vets4Vets® on the website, or book a confidential 30 minute initial call with team lead Dr. Bree Montana, or reach out via email

Veterinary Support Staff
Support4Support® is a confidential support group for veterinary support staff.  You can reach out via email  to schedule a one-on-one session with team leader Charlotte Waack.

Vets4Vets® and Support4Support are not replacements for individual or local support. These resources do not provide mental health diagnosis or treatment. Each team member does understand, and has years of experience helping colleagues overcome the challenges facing all veterinary team members. You are not alone. We are here to help.

Learning Objectives:
Upon completion of the course, the participant should be able to
  • identify risk factors for suicide.
  • understand the difference between having dark thoughts and actually ending one’s life.
  • name 3 reasons why veterinary professionals are particularly at risk.
  • question, persuade, and refer someone who may be suicidal.
  • learn more about preventing suicide.
  • recognize the common causes of suicidal behavior.
  • recognize the warning signs of suicide.
  • get help for someone in crisis.
  • utilize online resources that can be used to develop a suicide prevention program for their hospitals and local VMA's.
  • identify local resources and understand the benefit of prompt utilization of these organizations in the wake of a suicide.
  • understand the multiple normal feelings, including anger, at those who die by suicide and how to navigate them.

Level and Prerequisites: This basic VIN CE course is open for enrollment to to veterinarians and veterinary support staff interested in suicide prevention.
Accreditation: This course is approved for 6 hours of continuing education credit by RACE for veterinarians and veterinary technicians/technologists . (RACE 20-797047)
This course is approved by VHMA for CVPM credit. (VHMA 21-22)

Course Agenda:

Week 1 (Real Time Session September 14, 2021): Suicide and the Veterinary Team: When Is It Time to Worry?
Presenter: Susan P. Cohen, DSW
In this session, we will explore what puts someone at risk for suicide. Then we will learn how to distinguish among depression, dark thoughts, and suicidal acts. Finally, we will discuss together what makes members of the veterinary team more at risk than other groups. It's not enough to beg clients to be nicer to their pets' medical team. We have it in our power to improve our lives and those of our colleagues and to intervene before permanent damage is done.

Week 2 (Real Time Session September 21, 2021): Ask a Question, Save a Life
Presenter: Bree Montana, DVM, CCFP
It really is that easy. QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training empowers every participant to reduce suicidal behaviors and save lives. Join us as we share effective ways to ask about suicidal intentions, help someone who is struggling to slow the momentum of their downward spiral, and guide them to the care they need. Simple and effective, this training provides the tools and the confidence needed for anyone, regardless of background, to make a positive difference in the life of a struggling colleague.

Week 3 (Real Time Session September 28, 2021): Resources and Coping
Presenter: Michele Gaspar, DVM, MS, DABVP
In this presentation, we will discuss several online resources, as well as national organizations and their local chapters, that target suicide prevention and help survivors of suicide navigate the myriad emotions that typically arise after these events. We will specifically address the normal emotions of guilt/remorse, anger and shame that are typically felt by those impacted by another's suicide.

Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required to earn a certificate of completion for the course. To learn more about the requirements for earning a CE certificate, please refer to Receiving Your CE Credit and Course Completion Certificate.

Course Materials: Course materials will be available in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.
Required Textbook(s): There is no required textbook for this course.

Enrollment is closed.

Tuition: Member $138 ($124 early bird special if enrolled by August 24, 2021)
Non-Member $231 ($208 early bird special if enrolled by August 24, 2021)
Prices are listed in US dollars.

*All proceeds from this course will benefit the VIN Foundation.

*To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close on September 14, 2021 at 5 pm ET (USA) or when the maximum number of participants is reached.

*For more information on how online CE works, see the Participant Resource Center.

  1. Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to VIN member and non-member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
  2. Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from and addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants; personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. For further assistance call 800-846-0028 ext. 797 or email . Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.

Course withdrawal and refund policy: A complete refund of the paid course price will be issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to the listed start date of the course. If you wish to withdraw after the start date please contact the VIN office 800-846-0028 ext. 797 to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.

*For more information on VIN's upcoming CE courses, check the VIN Course Catalog.

Katherine James, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (SAIM)
VIN Education Director

VIN CE Services:
800-846-0028 or 530-756-4881; ext. 797
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01 45 222 6154
or direct line to VIN/VSPN from Australia: 02 6145 2357