Mental health in the head catch

Erasing the line between mental and physical illness

  • Joshua Paul Tanguay Department of Psychology, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS 67601
Keywords: mental illness, veterinary field, stigma


Similar to cattle in the head catch, mental illness and its effects are not going anywhere in the veterinary field. This paper addresses mental health stigma in the veterinary field and provides both concrete tools to address this challenge as well as recommendations for future direction. After a brief literature review of mental health in the veterinary field, a constructive critique is offered regarding how the field appears to be minimizing and distorting the effects of mental illness. There appears to be an imbalance between emphasizing “wellbeing” and euphemizing mental illness. Lastly, some concrete tools and recommendations are provided by encouraging the use of local resources, national resources and actively working to build empathy versus apathy for those who struggle with mental illness. In this light, two brief and true case studies are presented as means to generate empathy versus apathy.

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