The Riptide Project is a global and multidimensional non-profit initiative aimed at improving veterinary mental health and wellbeing in veterinary professionals. Veterinary professionals are 2–4 times more likely than members of the general public to commit suicide. The risk factors related to veterinary suicide are varied, but range from character predispositions, financial stresses, inadequate support, and ready access to means.2 Furthermore, vets and vet nurses self-identify very strongly with their careers, and often struggle to leave the profession, even if they have reached dire straits.3
Excluding client factors, about 47% of respondents from a DVM360 survey on job satisfaction reported that workplace relationships and time management issues contributed the most to their on-the-job stress.4 Veterinary professionals all enter the industry with the same desire to work with and help animals. It’s time we helped each other.
The Riptide Project aims to promote conversations between veterinary individuals and organisations. We do this in two main ways—posting stories of veterinary professionals from all over the world, and connecting veterinary professionals through the “Riptide Cuppas” system.
Through face-to-face and online support, veterinary professionals from varied cultural and work backgrounds will be able to connect with likeminded people, both on home ground and abroad. The networking opportunities also open avenues for employment, and allow the diversification of veterinary careers outside of clinical practice.
The Riptide Project was launched to a global audience at the 2017 WSAVA/FECAVA Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark. We look forward to engaging, learning from, and working with, other veterinary professionals who are passionate about improving mental health and wellbeing in the industry in Singapore.
1. Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus [Internet]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2017. Riptide [cited 2017 Jun 10]. Available from: http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/riptide.
2. Bartram, D. J., & Baldwin, D.S. Veterinary surgeons and suicide: a structured review of possible influences on increased risk. Veterinary Record. 2010;166: 388–97.
3. Page-Jones, S., & Abbey, G. Career identity in the veterinary profession. Veterinary Record [Internet]. 2015 Jan [cited 2017 Jun 13]. Available from doi: 10.1136/vr.102784.
4. DVM360.com staff: 2015 dvm360 Job Satisfaction Survey [Internet]. Lenexa (KS): UBM Life Sciences, Veterinary; 2017 [cited 2017 Jun 10]. Available from: http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/2015-dvm360-job-satisfaction-survey?page- ID=1.