The Lifeboat by NOMV App is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional physical or mental health care, nor does it provide real time support to its participants. In the event you are having a health/mental health emergency, please seek assistance immediately at the nearest emergency room.
Please read the following paragraphs carefully:
The information contained therein, in whatever form (the “information”), does not constitute medical advice, is not necessarily provided by medical professionals, is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for medical care and treatment. No therapeutic relationship is created by the reading or use of the information contained in the Lifeboat by NOMV App and the reader accepts sole responsibility for the use of any information that is contained within, and agrees to use such information at your own risk. The Lifeboat by NOMV App is intended to provide peer support and resources, and does not replace professional mental health care. The information contained in the Lifeboat by NOMV App is provided “as is” and without warranties or guarantees of any kind. You should always contact your physician or qualified mental health care provider or call 911 to determine what is appropriate for your health care needs and to answer questions that you may have regarding your health or medical condition and course of treatment.
By participating in the Lifeboat by NOMV program, you consent that your anonymized data may be used for academic research purposes. NOMV will not sell this information.
Not One More Vet, Inc. (NOMV), University of Tennessee, Auburn University, and their officers, Board of Trustees, employees, information providers and agents shall not be liable for any use of the information in the Lifeboat by NOMV App whether any damages arising therefrom are, direct, indirect, incidental or consequential, including but not limited to loss of profits, whether such claims are based in tort, (including negligence), contract or any other legal or equitable grounds. You agree to waive and release all claims, and to assume all risks connected with use of the Lifeboat by NOMV App by use thereof.
Since 2014, NOMV pioneered online peer-to-peer support and mentorship in the veterinary community across our veterinary peer Facebook forums. Lifeboat extends this model further by providing anonymity for users as they are paired with a team of veterinary professionals trained in peer support who will accompany and mentor these individuals through their crisis. The program modifies the concept of a “warm line” where individuals can expect to receive an asynchronous response from their peers once per day at a minimum (i.e. this is not a synchronous chat service). The Lifeboat volunteers are supported by partnerships with the Veterinary Social Work program at University of Tennessee and the Department of Psychological Sciences at Auburn University.
Lifeboat by NOMV is not a mental health intervention, but rather a peer support space to discuss mental health and wellness issues. Peer-based approaches to mental health care and recovery are growing and are evidenced as effective ways to help those in crisis feel understood and supported.
Although our volunteers have received training in peer support and suicide risk management, Lifeboat does not provide real time support. If you need help right now, click here to find a list of 24/7 resources. Please reach out to them.
Lifeboat by NOMV was designed from the very beginning to be a resource for veterinary professionals. It is available to anyone employed in the veterinary field that may need support in their mental health, including: veterinarians; veterinary technicians, nurses, and assistants; and other support staff.
Lifeboat relies on a community of trained volunteers who help provide reciprocal accountability to their peers seeking support. Through Lifeboat, veterinary professionals help each other by listening to and validating each other’s experiences.
Our veterinary profession volunteers are sorted into groups called Peer Companion Pods. The pods are generally composed of three companions and a peer seeking support, matched by having similar roles in the workplace, i.e., veterinarian or support staff. As the program develops, we may develop a more diverse set of Peer Companion Pods based on experience or specific peer needs.
These Peer Companion Pods are comprised of trained volunteers that offer support to veterinary professionals in need.
Interactions are anonymous. We made this decision deliberately to facilitate a sense of safety. We want people to feel they can share what is bothering them without fear of repercussions. With this anonymity, Lifeboat volunteers cannot invoke non-consensual active rescue (i.e. calling emergency services without the permission or consent of the peer). They can, however, recommend resources that may be appropriate for providing additional support including invoking active rescue with the consent and disclosure of the peer.
Peer-to-peer support is the backbone of Lifeboat. Peer relationships work because we naturally “speak the same language” as our peers. A scenario is familiar to anyone who works in the field, and therefore our conversations can progress to a deeper level more quickly. As people with similar experiences, we immediately draw from a wealth of knowledge, much of it intangible, that allows us to quickly form a strong connection.
The intention behind the Peer Companion Pod (PCP) model is to allow a group of peer companions to support each other’s work with a peer. The team approach empowers the pack to identify who has the most bandwidth during a given day or week to respond to peers. It also creates a sense of continuity and belonging for the peer who has a team of companions who are aware of their struggle and are there for peer support. This approach also ensures the emotional responsibility of helping never falls on one volunteer companion’s shoulders. It also helps companions keep each other accountable for maintaining healthy boundaries and essential self-care- one of the most powerful ingredients for effectively helping those in distress. The “PCP” is where reciprocal accountability between and among members of the Pod happens. This is the bread and butter of building a healthy and resilient Lifeboat Community.
Although there are many benefits to seeking counseling from a mental health professional, not all individuals experiencing distress feel comfortable doing so. We hope that by connecting on Lifeboat, with other veterinary professionals who have had successful mental health treatment experiences, peers will feel empowered to assess their mental health needs and get the “know-how” to develop excellent mental health care strategies for themselves in their own local community. Lifeboat can also be a great daily addition to a mental health plan that is already in place for a peer.
Using Lifeboat by NOMV
To request peer support via Lifeboat by NOMV, you will need to sign up at lifeboat.nomv.org.
Although our volunteers have received training in crisis support and suicide risk management, Lifeboat does not provide real time support. If you need help right now, click here to find a list of 24/7 resources. Please reach out to them.
If you are comfortable receiving non-anonymous support, you are welcome to our Facebook forums and join if you are not already a member.
Lifeboat by NOMV is a web browser based application. It has been designed to work on major modern browsers, but Chrome-based browsers are preferred.
Please report any issues you experience while navigating lifeboat.nomv.org to our bug reporting form. They will be received by NOMV staff and addressed appropriately.
Veterinary professionals interested in engaging with Lifeboat as a volunteer companion for their peers can apply by filling out NOMV’s volunteer application.
All volunteers for NOMV are required to complete a confidentiality agreement and suicide prevention training. Additionally, peer support volunteers must be currently employed in the veterinary profession. Once application materials are received by NOMV staff, applicants are invited to participate in Lifeboat companion training. This training is an asynchronous learning module that was developed by NOMV with the Veterinary Social Work program at University of Tennessee and Department of Psychological Sciences at Auburn University..
All Lifeboat by NOMV volunteers are also required to complete a background check prior to interacting with any users on the app. This serves to protect our volunteers and those veterinary professionals that they are supporting.