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Local veterinarian opens up about suicide rates rising throughout the profession

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    VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WTKR) — Kristen Seymour rushes through the halls of Acredale Animal Hospital in Virginia Beach.

She’s a veterinarian who has just finished a morning of surgeries and back-to-back appointments with pets.

“I actually tried really hard not to be a veterinarian because I knew what I was getting into, but it ended up being the only thing that really made sense for me,” she said.

Even after eight years of schooling she knew she needed to be the voice for the family members who can’t say what’s wrong with them.

However, aside from your visit a lot more is going on behind the scenes.

Seymour remembers a few weeks ago when she has nonstop appointments.

“I went from one room where I was like ‘oh your dog is pregnant’ and then I go into the next room and it’s like ‘I have to euthanize my cat, it’s doing terrible.’ It’s like emotional highs and lows,” she said with a sigh.

Those highs and lows are a reason the CDC said veterinarians are suffering from anxiety and depression.

A 2014 study by the CDC found that 30% of vets had experienced depressive episodes and 17% had experienced suicidal thoughts since leaving school.

Compared to the general public, female veterinarians are said to be 3.5 times more likely to kill themselves while men are 2.1 times more likely.

Seymour said it is sad but the suicide rates don’t shock her because she can see how the job changes a person.

A new online Facebook group is helping people deal with those problems. It’s called “Not One More Vet” and it was created for vets to vent with people that understand.

Benita Thornhill is a Behavioral Health Therapist with Sentara Outpatient Behavioral Health Services in Virginia Beach. She said, “I think it’s important for individuals to create a routine – a routine that includes self-care.”

She offers that people should try taking a walk if they get a small break at work or even setting time aside at the end of the day to unwind.

If you need to talk to someone the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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Article Topic Follows: Regional News

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