Student loan debt and high stress jobs are cited as main reasons
The Merck Animal Health Veterinary Wellbeing Study findings presented at the 2018 Veterinary Meeting & Expo in Orlando illustrate a concerning situation for a segment of the veterinary community.
The study results show that a combination of high student loan debt and high stress on the job is causing "serious psychological distress" among male veterinarians younger than 45 and female practitioners of all ages.
8.6% of those aged 18 to 34 and 9.1% of those aged 35 to 44 reported psychological distress, compared to 5% for the veterinary profession as a whole, which matches rates in the general population.
Overall, just 41% of veterinarians would recommend the job to others, a decline in this measure -- with the rate being just 24% in veterinarians 34 and under.
Sixty-seven percent of younger veterinarians identified student debt as a critically important issue, followed by stress levels (53%) and suicide rates of veterinarians (52%). ~Moneyish
"While mental illness among veterinarians was found to be no more prevalent than in the population at large, when it comes to well-being, veterinarians are faring somewhat worse than the general public." ~VIN
The Merck study also showed that just half of veterinarians experiencing distress were seeking help.
This study follows a 2014 study conducted by the CDC, in which one in 10 veterinarians said they experienced serious psychological distress and 1 in 6 stated they had contemplated suicide since becoming a veterinarian.