Promoting student welfare is central to the work of AVS. This page outlines just some of the support that is available to Veterinary students during their time at university.
If you need help Vetlife offer an independent, confidential and free help - they can be reached on: 0303 040 2551 or you can send an anonymous email by registering here.
Peer Support Report
Hot off the Press! Since 2009, the University of Liverpool have implemented a Peer Support system where a few students have been trained by professional counsellors to provide guidance and support to their peers.
A report on their progress is available here
In November 2016, AVS held its first Welfare Day at the University of Nottingham. To find out more about the day please click here.
Comments from the day included:
“Brilliant day - so many skills learnt- really good knowledge and understanding, invaluable for anyone- feel privileged to get this information”
"Fantastic teaching, I wish that more veterinary students, especially first year students and qualified vets, received this useful teaching”.
Student Welfare Grants
Organising an event or initiative at your university with the aim of improving student welfare?
One of AVS' aims is to promote high standards of student welfare for all vet students and we would like to encourage more events and initiatives that promote positive well being in all vet schools.
We are able to provide small grants (of up to £200) to contribute to the costs of events/initiatives organised by any group of students that are struggling to find funding from other sources at their university.
What Is Covered By The Grant?
The grant will provide a sum of up to £200 to contribute towards hosting an event/initiative which improves welfare for students in veterinary related courses. Possible activities which may be supported can include (though are not limited to):
symposiums, workshops or short conferences
activities to promote stress relief e.g. mindfulness, yoga, meditation, puppy handling.
The money may be used in a variety of ways to ensure the success of these events, whether for room hire, providing speakers fees, advertising the event or providing props or refreshments (must be non alcoholic).
There is one welfare grant available for each university, each academic year. There are no submission deadlines, however, the application should be at least 4 weeks in advance of when the grant will be needed. Applicants will be sent an email to confirm receipt of the application and will be notified within 2 weeks of this confirmation email whether they have been successful or not. It will then take up to 2 weeks for the grant to be awarded.
The possibilities for the AVS Welfare Grant are endless. Glasgow Vet Students used it to run a wellbeing month in 2017. They produced an article about the amazing work that they did which can be read here.
Mental Heath First Aid Courses
In the joint AVS/BVA Survey it was found that over 60% of vet students suffered from stress whilst at university, so in association with NHS Mental Health First Aid Scotland, courses were run at eight vet schools to combat stress and mental illness. The courses were a massive success with students learning how to recognise and approach sufferers and being introduced to the resources available to help. A massive thank you to all sponsors and to NHS Scotland Mental Health First Aid for delivering the courses.
Comments from the day included:
"Invaluable skills and knowledge gained that will help me help others and myself for the rest of my life’
‘An excellent, informative and enjoyable weekend which was thoroughly worthwhile. The importance of teaching in this subject cannot be underestimated’
In association with the Liverpool Peer Support service, the AVS welfare team have put together a useful document on how to manage the stress that can often be felt around exam time. It discusses how to recognise stress and contains some quick stress busting and exam time tips, as well as useful advice on how to prepare yourself come exam day. We hope you find it useful, and wish you the best of luck in any forthcoming exams you may have.
You can access the document here.
Staying Alcohol Aware
Freshers' week is known for its crazy nights out, meeting new people, discovering new places, and having an amazing time. Going out in a new, unfamiliar city however can be daunting for many people.
Not everyone needs alcohol to have a good time, but for those who do enjoy the odd drink, or are starting drinking for the first time, the AVS welfare team have produced a top tips guide for staying safe and alcohol aware during freshers' week (and the 4 years after).
Check out the guide here.
Take Your Time
It’s easy, with exams often approaching for many students, to spend all of the holidays revising or working. While studying is a significant part of student life, it is important that it doesn’t take over your life. Hannah Clifford, Former Cambridge Senior Rep, talks about the importance of knowing when to take a break.
Have a read of the article here.
Vetlife is the website of the Veterinary Benevolent Fund, established with funding from the BVA and RCVS trust. VBF works for vets and their dependants, vet students and vet nurses to provide confidential help and support in times of need. They run Vet Helpline, which is a listening service for vets, vet nurses, students and any family or colleagues who are concerned about someone in the veterinary community.
24/7 free, confidential helpline number:
0303 040 2551
They also provide a confidential and secure email support service, answered by a trained group of volunteers with experience of the profession. The link to the email service can be found here.
Mind Matters aims to improve mental health and wellbeing of the veterinary team, including students. They offer mental-health awareness training and try and break down the stigma surrounding mental ill-health. They also provide resources to support and help students.
Depression at University
Depression is one of the biggest welfare concerns regarding students at university, especially on demanding courses such as veterinary medicine. Vetlife have a great page full of resources and information regarding depression which you can find here. The World Health Organisation also recently released a useful video which helps illustrate what it is like to live with this condition.
Liverpool vet school has been running a peer support service for vet students for a number of years, originally set up by Tina Usherwood in 2009. It is a confidential support system consisting of 40 peer supporters aiming to help students as they complete their qualifications. The achievements of the service were recently celebrated during a conference held at the Leahurst campus, with the aim of promoting the service to be adopted at other UK and Ireland vet schools. A report from the conference is available here.
"I found your conference amongst the most rewarding meetings I've been to since being a member of the officer team at BVA"
- BVA Past President Peter Jones