Pictured at the launch of the SAFEVET SMART handbook, a practical guide to managing stress and building resilience for members of the veterinary professions, were Dr. Ailís Ní Riain, Deputy President of The Veterinary Council of Ireland; Joe Moffitt, President of the Veterinary Council of Ireland, and Niamh Muldoon, CEO and Registrar of The Veterinary Council of Ireland, in Merrion Square, Dublin. (Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography)

An evidence based practical guide to managing stress and building resilience for members of the veterinary professions, has been launched by the Veterinary Council of Ireland, the independent statutory body responsible for the regulation of the practise of veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing.

Author of the new SAFEVET SMART Handbook is Dr Margaret O’Rourke, a Clinical Psychologist and Director of Behavioural Science at the School of Medicine, University College Cork.

The handbook provides expert mental health advice relevant to veterinary professionals throughout every stage of their careers with proven tips and practical advice to help establish good habits, maintain a healthy mind and body, as well as financial advice, alongside strategies for managing conflict and difficult people. 

Discussing her research findings, Dr O’Rourke remarked: “Mental health is an often overlooked area, and one which all veterinary professionals should be conscious of on an ongoing basis.

“Long hours, complex cases, heavy workloads, paperwork, demanding owners, litigation risk, poor career advancement, and financial challenges are just some of the stressors faced in practice.

“I would encourage all veterinary professionals to work to maintain their mental health, in order to properly ensure their own happiness and comfort, and that of the animals they care for.”


The Veterinary Council is currently conducting research among its registrants in the area of mental health in the veterinary professions, to gain a better understanding of the topic and to help establish what can be done to support veterinary practitioners and veterinary nurses. 

The National Office for Suicide Prevention and the National Suicide Research Foundation will assist the Veterinary Council in carrying out vital research in relation to resilience, mental health and suicide prevention amongst the veterinary professions.

The Veterinary Council will provide registrants with a link to the survey in due course. A copy of the SAFEVET SMART handbook will be sent to each veterinary practitioner and veterinary nurse on the Veterinary Council Register.