Be more vet! The development of a mental wellbeing toolbox for the undergraduate curriculum at Bristol University.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Contribution (Conference Proceeding)


The Vet Futures initiative (from RCVS and BVA) has highlighted mental wellbeing as an ongoing issue for the veterinary profession. A veterinary undergraduate mental wellbeing curriculum is being developed at Bristol University with the aims of promoting a positive perspective on wellbeing and developing relevant skills. A literature review was undertaken to identify practices for promoting mental wellbeing in the veterinary and medical undergraduate and practising populations. Findings indicated that curricula rarely focus on positive mental wellbeing; instead students are taught how to recognise and deal with stress, develop time management skills and create self-care plans (Drake et al. 2014; Collins & Foote 2005; Gelberg & Gelberg 2005). Emphasising the need to develop coping strategies in order to work in the profession may result in an expectation of poor wellbeing, despite a veterinary career having the potential to be rewarding and contribute to positive wellbeing (Cake et al. 2015). Based on the literature, a “Mental Wellbeing Toolbox” has been created and will be embedded as a vertical theme in the curriculum. It aims to provide students with skills that will both support and promote a positive, fulfilling and successful career, whilst also developing coping strategies for professionals who may be faced with mental ill-health. Teaching sessions using the toolbox will highlight how anyone can benefit from improving their mental wellbeing, resulting in improved job (and life) satisfaction. An initial version of the toolbox has been presented to focus groups of final year veterinary students. Cake MA, Bell MA, Bickley N, Bartram DJ (2015). The Life of Meaning: A Model of the Positive Contributions to Well-being from Veterinary Work. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. 42 (3): 184-193 Collins H, Foote D (2005). Managing Stress in Veterinary Students. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. 32 (2): 170-172 Drake AS, Hafen Jr M, Rush BR (2014). Promoting Well-being among Veterinary Medical Students: Protocol and Preliminary Findings. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. 41(3): 294-300 Gelberg S, Gelberg H (2005). Stress Management Interventions of Veterinary Students. Journal of Veterinary Medical Education. 32(2): 173-181
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2017
EventVetEd 2017: International Symposium of the Veterinary Schools Council - University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Jul 20177 Jul 2017


ConferenceVetEd 2017
CountryUnited Kingdom

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