Why are Veterinary Professionals at Increased Risk for Suicide, and What Can We Do About It?
February 16th, 2017
2:00 - 3:00PM EST
Free for AAS Members | $35 for Non-Members
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Veterinarians have elevated suicide risk compared to the general population, both in the United States and abroad (Bartram & Baldwin, 2010; Blair & Hayes, 1982; Miller & Beaumont, 1995). Although this elevated risk has been known for decades, it remains unclear why veterinarians are at higher risk for suicide even compared to other health professionals. Additionally, there are a number of limitations inherent in the existing research on this topic (e.g., exclusion of other veterinary professionals; its primarily atheoretical nature). This webinar will describe an ongoing research program focused on understanding the increased risk of suicide among veterinary professionals and developing interventions to mitigate this risk. Results from the following studies will be presented: 1) Cross-sectional (N = 130) and longitudinal (N = 80) investigations of the relationship between experience with euthanasia and acquired capability for suicide in veterinary students, 2) Examination of risk factors for suicide, attitudes toward mental illness, and practice-related stressors among U.S. veterinarians (N = 11,627), 3) Mental health needs assessment of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, and veterinary technologists in Tennessee and Alabama (N = 293), and 4) Preliminary results from a comprehensive mortality analysis of veterinary professionals, using the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS).
By the end of the presentation, attendees should be able to:
- Describe the pattern of suicide risk among veterinary professionals.
- Describe potential explanations for this increased suicide risk, including unique occupational stressors faced by veterinary professionals.
- Identify potential interventions that may be most promising for reducing suicide risk among veterinary professionals.
Tracy Witte received her BS in Psychology from The Ohio State University in 2004 and her MS and PhD in Clinical Psychology from Florida State University in 2006 and 2010, respectively. She completed a clinical psychology pre-doctoral internship at the Brown University Training Consortium, Brown Medical School in 2010. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Auburn University. Dr. Witte is also a licensed psychologist and conducts clinical supervision at the Auburn University Psychological Services Center.
Her research is broadly concerned with understanding and preventing suicidal behavior. She has a secondary interest in psychopathology (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder, eating disorders) insofar as it overlaps with suicidal behavior.