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Mind Matters Initiative to be extended

28 September 2018, at 5:08pm

The RCVS Council has agreed to extend the Mind Matters Initiative on a rolling three-year basis and to increase its funding to £250,000 per year. This investment will allow the initiative to continue to address and improve mental health and well-being within the veterinary profession.

RCVS Council met on Thursday 27 September 2018, and Professor Stuart Reid, Chair of Mind Matters, put forward the bid for the Initiative, initially given five years of funding (2015 to 2019), at £200,000 per annum, to switch to a rolling three-year agreement. Council voted unanimously in favour of the proposal.

Mind Matters will continue to donate £100,000 per year to independent charity Vetlife, for its Health Support service. The remaining £150,000 will be spent on other initiatives, which include providing training, research and a culture change programme.

To address mental health within the veterinary team, the Mind Matters Initiative seeks to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health related concerns, and to reduce the incidence of stress and mental ill-health.

The initiative has already garnered much support and collaboration from stakeholders on its taskforce, including joint mental health awareness courses run with the BSAVA, mental health for managers courses with the Veterinary Management Group, the joint Wellbeing Awards with the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) and supporting students with the Association of Veterinary Students. The initiative also launched the destigmatising campaign “&me” with the Doctors’ Support Network, at the House of Commons in January 2017.

Since its inception, Mind Matters has run 45 mental health awareness courses, spoken at or organised speakers for over 50 external conferences and events and hosted Mind Matters conferences and Symposiums, among many other activities. During this time there has been a 500 percent increase in calls to the Vetlife Helpline, demonstrating that the stigma of seeking help is now reducing.

This further funding will ensure the Mind Matters Initiative can continue to build on its success, highlighting the importance of individual wellbeing and seeking to prevent, protect and support all members of the veterinary team.

Professor Stuart Reid, Chair of Mind Matters, said: “I’m both delighted and immensely grateful that Council has demonstrated their support for Mind Matters unanimously and so generously. Their commitment to our mission will allow us to take the initiative to the next level and, importantly, continue to assess the impact of our work.”