The pandemic has had an undeniable impact on the emotional well-being of our Hospital Associates. Our teams kept hospitals open, adjusted to new COVID protocols and continued delivering world-class care despite a significant shortage of qualified veterinary professionals. Through it all, we found moments of joy to celebrate even during difficult shifts – before coming back in the next day to do it all again. We know what it means to care for each other.
As part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of brands, VCA is committed to taking care of the future of veterinary medicine and that starts with taking care of the people who practice world-class medicine. The journey to ensure our Associates have the resources they need is an ongoing journey, but I’m proud of the meaningful strides we have made in providing mental health and well-being support over the last two years. It started with listening and learning from our Associates in one-on-one meetings and group discussions. We studied the barriers preventing our Associates from seeking mental health support and then launched a pilot program in 2020 to identify a partner that worked best for our people.
We knew that we needed to work with experts in the mental health field to best equip our Associates with easy access to individualized, high-quality care and support. This led us to launch a pilot with Lyra Health and other leading providers.
Lyra Health Available for Free for All U.S. Associates
The feedback from those in the pilot was so positive that we expanded Lyra access to all VCA’s U.S. Associates. Now, all Associates have access to 12 company-paid sessions each year with a Lyra Health coach or mental health counselor, regardless of whether they are full-time or not. The decision to extend Lyra to every single Associate in the U.S. was intentional – it’s one way we can do our part to take care of veterinary professionals.
In addition to easing access to mental health support for our Associates, I am also proud that our partnership with Lyra was the first opportunity for them to bring their expertise to the veterinary profession.
Lyra is an important part of a larger support system for our Associates. We also offer several other important and impactful programs:
- Headspace: This meditation & mindfulness app provides digital tools to help manage stress, fall asleep, exercise mindfully, remain focused and more. This virtual well-being support reminds Associates to take a breath, take a break and take care of themselves. Thousands of VCA Associates have enrolled and report feeling less stressed, more present throughout the day, and have developed more restful sleep patterns.
- Suicide Prevention Training: This online training is designed to help leaders identify team members who may be in emotional distress and need support, including being in imminent danger of self-harm. This training is encouraged for all VCA leaders and available to all Associates through our WOOF University – an internal knowledge and learning platform.
- Additional Resources: As part of the Mars Veterinary Health family, Associates also have access to resources like MVH4you.com, filled with health and well-being resources designed specifically for veterinary professionals and open for anyone in the industry to use.
If you or anyone you know feels alone and is struggling, please reach out to The Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741 or calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.