30 May 2019 | Animal health
Mental Health Awareness Week - Never underestimate the importance of kindness
AVS President Isobel Arthur reminds us that it is often the small gestures of kindness that make the biggest difference #BeKind
Empathy, compassion and kindness are integral to the veterinary profession, with the truly amazing and dedicated individuals helping others through the care and treatment of their furry family members. However, amidst the mountains of lecture notes and revision flashcards, it can be all too easy for students to forget about these untaught skills which are vital for our futures.
The value of kindness is often underestimated, but even the simplest gestures can change someone’s day. It is often in trying times that the best in spirit and compassion are shown, and this has been ever more apparent amongst students and within the wider profession. During the current turbulent circumstances, many people are reaching out and asking how they can help those around them. We’ve seen everything from making scrubs and masks for nurses, picking up and delivering essentials for the vulnerable, to simply asking how someone is. It is often the small things that make the biggest difference.
The turmoil caused by the current pandemic hasn’t left students untouched. Many students have had EMS placements cancelled, rotations suspended and exams and teaching delivered online. But amongst the uncertainty and worry, a remarkable sense of resilience and unity within the veterinary profession has been evidenced as vets, nurses, educators and associations have rallied in the provision of support and resources required by students to continue their education.
The strong community spirit amongst vet students and the wider profession has proven to be of huge benefit during these trying times. Online communities are booming with fresh ideas and untapped potential and bridging the gaps in social outgoings, whether it be self-organised ‘pub quizzes’ via zoom with friends or webinars and interactive sessions such as AVS Student Surgeries. Although we may not be face to face in meeting we can still feel very much connected.
The Covid-19 pandemic has had far reaching implications and affected everyone in different ways. This is important to remember as each individual we encounter - whether it be the farmer struggling to maintain their herds, the client relying on their pet for companionship or the vet covering multiple extra shifts - the importance of kindness, compassion and empathy should never be underestimated. But in addition to the importance of caring for others, it is essential to care for ourselves. So now more than ever; check in with yourself, dedicate some personal time and be kind to yourself. If ever you feel you need someone to talk to, always remember Vetlife are here for you. You can contact the 24/7/365 confidential Helpline on 0303 040 2551, or via anonymous email.
Mental Health Awareness Week
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