Monday, January 16, 2017

Mental health resources for vet employers and students, and national galleries host dog day out

vet cook book; ploughmans lunch
The ploughperson's lunch: my variation on the ploughman's lunch. The bull terrier teapot is more for show - her lip is a bit wonky so when you pour from her she dribbles everywhere. 

As regular readers will know, one of the projects we took on last year is The Vet Cook Book, an initiative to promote collegiality in the veterinary profession.

For some it’s a bit of an odd thing for smallanimaltalk to blog about. And those who have seen me in the kitchen (not my natural environment) raise their eyebrows when they hear I am co-editing a cook book. The background is that those working in the veterinary profession have a higher rate of suicide than the general population. That’s part of it. The bigger part is that plenty of vets, nurses, kennelhands, practice managers and others suffer from stress and burnout. And that impacts them, those around them, and their patients. Not that we have a monopoly on stress. It seems the modern world is geared towards everyone feeling overwhelmed, overloaded, over-contactable yet isolated, and suffering FOMO because everyone else on social media seems to have their lives in order.

The Vet Cook Book really is a One Health/One Welfare project: we need to be well in order to look after animals to their best abilities.

As one of the editorial team I was interviewed about the project last week by Dr Jo Righetti and David Prior on 2UE (you can listen to the segment here). 

During this period we’ve uncovered some really useful resources including Heads Up, an online resource to assist in developing a mentally healthy workplace. This is a fantastic resource for veterinary practice owners and managers (as well as business owners in general). You can check it out here

The Australian Medical Students Association, in conjunction with its New Zealand counterpart, also produces a guidebook for medical students which covers everything from mental health care, life tips, eating well on a budget, finding the right GP for you, surviving rural rotations and  managing your finances. It is a very helpful guide and can be downloaded for free

The recipe for my variation of the Ploughperson's lunch pictured above is:

1 bag potato chips (corrugated are better)
1 tablespoon of cashew cheese with dill (made by Peace,Love and Vegetables but I am told those possessing a food processor can work similar miracles).
1 block of cheese (I used soy cheese)
1 carrot or parts thereof
Small tomatoes of some kind or other
Pickles (I used Grandpa Jack’s Artisan Pickles: Strong pickled onions with garlic and habaneros)
Fresh bread (note I've revived some frozen bread with my toaster in this version)
1 cup of tea

The great thing about this recipe is you don’t need to cook anything…just assemble it. Quantities can be varied according to taste and hunger.

And for those wondering what on earth this has to do with ploughmen, check out Wiki on this meal here


Over the break we visited the National Portrait Gallery to check out the Popular Pet Show (you can read our interview with curator Dr Sarah Engledow here).

This weekend, on Saturday January 21, the National Portrait Gallery will join the National Gallery of Australia to host an outdoor event for dogs. If you live in Canberra, or your dog loves a road trip, this may be the place to be.

Dogs won’t be allowed in the galleries as such, but there will be plenty of dog-friendly spaces and activities outside. For more info, click here