Doing the right thing: Vets Now vet nurses raise money for mental health charity

  • Charity work

TWO dedicated vet nurses have pledged to walk 40 miles in 24 hours to raise money for mental health charity Mind.

Kath Howie and Sophie Bedford, who both work for Vets Now, are embarking on the challenge in the Lake District in June.

They are already more than halfway to meeting their fundraising target of £2,000 — partly thanks to a donation of £500 from Vets Now.

Studies have shown mental health is a big issue in the caring professions, with veterinarians, in particular, at risk of suffering stress.

 

Kath, principal nurse manager at Vets Now in Farnham, said: “I’m lucky in that I‘ve always had somewhere to turn when I’ve struggled.

“But I know mental illness can be just as life threatening and life limiting as physical illness, and it's time everyone talked about it more.

“I'm doing this for people who feel they can't talk to those closest to them because they feel ashamed or that nobody cares.

Kath added: “I’m delighted Vets Now has sponsored us and been so very generous.

“As well as being proactive about mental health awareness the company's support and donation will make a huge difference not only to veterinary professionals but also to anyone who may need help and support from Mind.”

The biannual Mind Hike sees one team trek from Grasmere, through the Langdale valley before circling the fells around High Raise.

The other team follows an extended version of the famous Fairfield horseshoe, one of the Lake District's most challenging routes.

Read more: Focus on vet nurses: Kath gives her take on what makes her job so worthwhile

According to Sophie, principal nurse manager at Vets Now in Reading, the duo are taking part as they work in a “24-hour profession with a high risk of mental health concerns”.

She said: “We have both seen the effects of mental health problems and have struggled for many years ourselves with depression and anxiety.

“I do believe the increasing pressures on nurses, particularly in relation to out-of-hours work, have contributed to my inability to cope.

“It is important for individuals to not internalise their negative feelings – the ability to cope with emotions and stresses is a skill that needs to be learned.

“It does not come automatically, and some people need more help than others to master this ability. There is nothing to be ashamed of for needing extra support.”

The health and wellbeing of its staff is one of Vets Now’s key priorities.

Earlier this year the business was “highly commended” by the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons (SPVS) for its work in this area.

To donate to Kath and Sophie's cause, click here.

 

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