These community walks, which take place between August and April each year, bring together nearly 250,000 people from across the country who aim to raise awareness and money for suicide research, education, advocacy and support.
More than three decades of data have shown that veterinarians face a disproportionately high suicide rate, owing to a mix of issues that include compassion fatigue and burnout. BluePearl, who employs more than 5,000 Associates in 76 veterinary hospitals in 24 states, recognizes these emotional demands and is targeting its suicide prevention outreach efforts. In addition to sponsoring 28 OOTD community walks, BluePearl is working to develop veterinary social work programs in each of its markets.
“Participation in these events says to our associates I see you and you matter,” said Lori C. Harbert, LCSW Program Manager, Veterinary Social Work at BluePearl. “Raising awareness, educating our work family on suicide prevention and mental health, addressing stigma in the work place, reducing fear and enhancing insight into available resources is a start in fighting back against the suicide epidemic in Veterinary Medicine,” she added.
To date, BluePearl teams have raised $18,498 from the 11 walks that have already taken place. Funds raised help the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) achieve its mission of saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.
Thanks to walkers and donors, AFPS has been able to set a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20% by 2025.
For BluePearl Associates, there are still 17 walks to participate in. Click here to register for one of the following events.