Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) Veterinary Wellness Survey

The following message from AVA President Dr Warwick Vale is published below for veterinary practitioners and other stakeholders in the veterinary profession who may not have received it from the AVA.

Dear veterinary practitioner/stakeholder in the veterinary profession

Your voice is critical - please complete this stakeholder survey to contribute to a veterinary wellness strategy that works for the whole profession.


As you are hopefully aware, the AVA has been working around the clock with our partner in mental health, Superfriend, to develop a comprehensive and holistic veterinary wellness strategy for the veterinary profession. Now, more than ever, we need to address each and every one of the causative factors of poor mental health within our profession - ensuring that they form part of the solution to build a thriving, sustainable profession - not only for ourselves to enjoy but for those who follow in our steps.

In the initial stage of the AVA Veterinary Wellness Project, Superfriend had completed a literature review and desktop analysis, providing us with a summary of the current state of the profession, as well as highlighting some of the risks, and protective factors, and determining gaps and opportunities in the interventions already in use.

The next step in the development of the strategy has been the undertaking of focus group discussions and one-on-one interviews with a variety of stakeholders from within the profession. The purpose of these discussions was to ‘bring to life’ the voice of the profession, to assist with shaping the development of a structured and comprehensive mental health strategy. The focus groups and interviews were highly effective in gaining: detailed information on psychosocial risk and protective factors that exist; an increased understanding of the key barriers and enablers to addressing mental health, and a broader representation of the ideas and opinions on the issues that exist, as well as identifying potential solutions.

Focus group stakeholders included representatives from the AVA Workforce Challenges Working Group, mental health thought leaders, individuals with lived experience, industry professionals, practice managers, entity groups, employed veterinarians, nurses, technicians, academics, researchers and veterinary boards.

The next vital step is to conduct a stakeholder survey which will draw from the collective experience of the entire profession. Following completion of the survey, Superfriend will synthesise the collected insights from all stages of this project and provide a stakeholder report to the AVA for consideration and appropriate action as part of the broader project plan.

We know that mental wellness within the profession is an extremely complex issue, and whilst we acknowledge that there will be no ‘easy fix', one thing is certain, and that is that the success of the strategy that we are working hard to develop is reliant upon the input of every member of the profession. We want, and need, to hear your voice, so please – complete the online survey, and contribute to bringing us one step closer to producing a veterinary wellness strategy with the power to create the positive change critical to securing a thriving and sustainable career for us all.

Your voice matters - please complete the survey here

Kind regards

Dr Warwick Vale
AVA President
14 July 2021