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Mind Matters focuses on inequality and mental health for World Mental Health Day

8 October 2021

The Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Mind Matters mental health initiative is announcing a new training collaboration on how to champion equality ahead of this year’s World Mental Health Day (Sunday 10 October 2021).

The theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day is ‘Mental Health in an Unequal World’, and considers how societal inequalities can feed into mental ill-health, the unequal provision of and access to mental health services and treatment, and how people with mental health conditions can face discrimination and injustice.

As part of the Mind Matters Initiative’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, it is today announcing a new ‘Championing Equality’ training course, for which it is collaborating with representatives from the British Veterinary Ethnicity & Diversity Society (BVEDS), the British Veterinary Chronic Illness Society (BVCIS), Vetlife, and the British Veterinary LGBTQ+ Society.

The course will run throughout 2022 with each of the above groups contributing to the development and delivery of the course, including providing case studies on how inequality, stigma and discrimination can impact mental health.

Lisa Quigley, Mind Matters Manager, commented: “On behalf of Mind Matters I’d like to thank these fantastic veterinary organisations for collaborating with us. They have been doing such vital work in the profession, including on the intersections of factors such as ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity and disability with mental health, and we can’t talk about mental health unless we also have conversations about inequality.

“This course will help those attending understand the structural causes of inequality and the impact this has on individuals, workplaces and wider society; understand the relationship between mental health and inequality; develop an awareness of rights and responsibilities under the Equality Act; be able to recognize and respond to stigma and discrimination; and become a champion for equality and inclusion within the professions.

“More details about the courses will be published in due course but anyone who has an interest in finding out more and registering in advance for the courses can contact me on l.quigley@rcvs.org.uk.”

This week Lisa, along with Vetlife Helpline Manager and veterinary mental health researcher Rosie Allister, will also each be publishing blog posts which examine the inextricable links between mental health and equality. Rosie writes about how societal inequalities impact mental health, while Lisa writes about how people with mental illness can experience inequality, stigma and discrimination, and how this can be addressed, for example, through workplace adjustments. These will be posted on the Mind Matters website and shared on social media.

World Mental Health Day’s focus on inequality also comes ahead of the formal publication of the joint BVEDS and Royal Veterinary College's Race Together research which looked at the mental health impact of experiences of discrimination and racism on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) veterinary professionals. The research will be presented by principal researchers Victoria Crossley (RVC) and Navaratnam Partheeban (BVEDS) at the Mind Matters Initiative’s Research Symposium.

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