Veterinary Mental Health Support

Mental Health in Veterinary Medicine

Veterinary Mental Health Support (VMHS) was founded in 2020 to provide mental health resources to the veterinary medicine community. These professionals can struggle with high rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidality, in addition to other mental health diagnoses, compared to the general population.

Our objective is to support those who diligently and compassionately care for animals (and their humans).

Who VMHS Serves

Since the commencement of this life-saving initiative, we have directly engaged with more than 500 veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and professionals from across the U.S. and internationally (12 countries). 

We are deeply honored to serve all who seek our support, especially those from underserved minority communities with regards to ethnicity, race, religion and spirituality, age, sexual orientation, and/or disability. 

Veterinary medicine professionals from these communities suffer from disproportionate access to mental health services, and are much more likely to be beset by stigma if they are able to find affordable care. 

VMHS is committed to anti-racism, racial justice, and social justice as core beliefs. We are in the process of discussing ways to tangibly support these values within the veterinary medicine community, notably through collaborations with trusted allied organizations to advance constructive change and inclusive support groups that provide a safe space to reflect and share personal experiences.

About Our Services

All VMHS services are completely free, confidential, virtual via a HIPAA-compliant platform, and facilitated by kind and understanding doctorate-level facilitators with specialties in depression and anxiety, grief and loss, work-life balance, trauma, and suicide prevention and response.  

We offer 2 services: facilitated support groups for all veterinary medicine professionals, and individual (one-one-one) sessions for veterinarians.

We have offered several tailored group options, and hope to add more soon: 

Weekly Professional Peer Support Groups

In our support groups, facilitators address participants’ individual concerns in the context of a shared professional experience. We provide psychoeducation and gold-standard coping skills in a safe and supportive space via both our discussion and through a weekly handout emailed in advance. Each group is overseen by two facilitators for safety reasons. 

Each group cycle is six weeks in length and consists of a one-hour confidential group session per week. Each support group is capped at approximately 12 participants to ensure that all who choose to share have the opportunity to do so, although there is no expectation or obligation to share. 

We offer these groups on varying days and times in an attempt to serve participants at their convenience. There is no limit on the number of groups a participant can attend, and we have had several return and attend two or more groups.

Individual Sessions

We also offer one-to-one sessions for veterinarians. The 50-minute appointments offer the opportunity to provide psychoeducation, clarify what takes place during a group session, and/or provide suggestions for long-term therapy and treatment programs. 

We do limit the number of individual support sessions a veterinarian can engage in as these are not intended to be therapy or counseling, or a replacement for mental health care with a licensed clinician.

How to Register for Services

To register for an upcoming support group, and/or for more information about individual sessions for veterinarians, please email

VMHS Objectives

  • Promotion of connectedness and supportive relationships with fellow veterinary medicine professionals. 
  • Provision of effective coping and problem-solving skills. 
  • Identification of and care for individuals at greater risk.
  • Access to confidential, timely, effective support.

Evidence-based Benefits of Engaging in VMHS Services:

  • Normalization and Validation: Facilitated peer groups normalize and validate occupation-related stressors, in addition to the specific concerns veterinary medicine professionals take home with them at the end of the day.
  • Protective Factors: Our groups encourage asking for help and discovering what others have done in similar situations.
  • Disclosure: Sharing concerns with fellow professionals can aid participants in making sense of what they’re going through, and remind them they are not alone. 
  • Community Engagement: By participating in a group, participants are giving back to their professional community via their commitment to both current and future members (as the program grows and improves).
  • Health: Involvement in facilitated peer groups has been shown to result in enhanced physical health, reduced stress, decreased mood symptoms, reduced engagement in avoidance strategies such as substance use, and a lower risk of self-harm and suicide.

Veterinary Advisory Council

We are honored to be advised by a respected and renowned board of veterinarians who are all advocates for mental health in the profession. Topics discussed include improving the effectiveness of our services, expanding our reach and scope, reviewing pertinent mental health issues in veterinary medicine and their origin, and building trust and within the veterinary medicine community. Our Director Dr. Lawlor is in frequent contact with all members, and they are set to meet again this fall.

We frequently add new veterinarians to the Council, given their stated desire to join us.  

Founding Story

In the Fall of 2020, a beloved rescue dog by the name of Mia was tragically hit by a car, and later succumbed to her injuries. Mia’s Veterinarian, Dr. Kathy Gervais, encouraged her guardian Emily Scott to reach out to Dr. Katie Lawlor, a Doctor of Clinical Psychology who specializes in grief and loss. During their initial conversation, it was brought to Emily’s attention that veterinarians can suffer from high rates of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation as a profession, given the often traumatic and heartbreaking nature of their work. Dr. Gervais confirmed these statistics, adding her own personal experiences as well as the struggles and loss of colleagues. 

Together these 3 women immediately resolved to do something about this crisis, and it was from this collaboration Veterinary Mental Health Support (VMHS) was founded. 

We hope to honor Mia’s legacy through our heartfelt work and dedication to the veterinary medicine community.


VMHS do not provide emergency or crisis services, therapy, psychotherapy, or counseling.

Support sessions are 60 minutes, starting at the top of the hour.

No client–therapist relationship is established by your participation in our support groups or one-to-one sessions.

Engagement in support sessions through VMHS is not intended to be a substitute or replacement for mental health treatment.

In some cases, we may recommend a specialized level of care if we believe this is in your best interest, rather than engaging in support services through the VMHS. 

Please also be aware that while we do our best, we cannot respond to emails immediately.

Typically we are able to follow-up within 24-48 hours.

We do not have a dedicated phone line.

If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 911 and / or present to your closest emergency room.