Executive Summary

This project set out to gather the views and experiences of farm animal vet to identify mechanisms which could be used to (a) promote job satisfaction and (b) to break the cycle of negative thoughts that occur during periods of poor mental wellbeing or in response to setbacks and failure.

Between October 2019 and February 2020, the following questions were asked in recorded telephone interviews with farm vets.

  1. What routine activities give you job satisfaction / what are the best bits about your job?
  2. What routine activities / aspects of the job do you find demotivating or demoralising and what helps you to cope with challenges, setbacks, failures, and mistakes?
  3. What do you think would help vets to cope & to support their mental health and wellbeing?
Based on what farm vets said, some web-based materials were developed and tested. The content of this site is based on findings of the interviews and the recommendations which were made by farm vets throughout the project . We have used direct quotes from the transcriptions of the telephone interviews. The quotes are loosely collated into general topics and some quotes may appear in more than one. They are verbatim quotes extracted from longer conversations, which means that some read better than others. We hope that you will find them encouraging, and even inspirational and entertaining at times!

We are indebted to the farm vets who contributed to this project. We would like to thank every farm vet who was interviewed, those who took part in the workshop and who provided feedback at the alpha testing stage. It has been an immense privilege for our team to have been given such an insight into the very personal, sometimes painful experiences which were described during interviews.

Final Report

You can read the final report here - Mind Matters Final Report.

RCVS Mind Matters Initiative, Sarah Brown Mental Health Research Grant (Year 1)

The creation of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) took place in 2012 by merging SAC (the Scottish Agricultural College) with three respected partners (Barony, Elmwood and Oatridge Colleges).

SRUC exists to deliver comprehensive skills, education and business support for Scotland’s land-based industries, founded on world-class and sector-leading research, education and consultancy. The integration of these three complementary ‘knowledge exchange’ services is of significant value to all with an interest in land-based activities – be they learners, businesses, communities or policy-makers.

Competing demands and addressing new opportunities means the future for land-based industries will be extremely challenging. The next generation of business leaders and policymakers will need to be highly skilled and knowledgeable to navigate their way through a complex operating environment.

To achieve this, we will support land-based communities and industries by drawing on our accomplished history of more than a century of success. Strong in our heritage, yet stronger still as SRUC, we will strive to lead the way in delivering economic, social and environmental benefits while providing a strong voice for our rural industries.

The Inverness-based Epidemiology Research Unit is focused on improving and maintaining animal population health by integrating a range of sciences to develop our understanding of animal disease control. We also engage in research into animal diseases that can affect humans (zoonoses).

The team, led by Prof George Gunn, is recognised for its expertise in animal disease surveillance; the conduct of extensive field studies investigating the epidemiology of infectious diseases; and addressing large-scale, intensely data-driven problems in population health of terrestrial and aquatic species.

For more information, please contact
Dr Kate Stephen
e: mindmattersproject@sruc.ac.uk
w: www.sruc.ac.uk