Recent research has highlighted that veterinarians are a high-risk group with respect to experiencing occupational stress and poor mental health. Studies report that veterinarians experience burnout (a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged stress) and incredibly high levels of secondary traumatic stress (the stress experienced when clients and/or patients experience pain, distress, and grief) at the highest levels of all medical and caregiving professions. The mental health of the veterinary team greatly impacts the practice and the quality of care provided to clients and patients.

Business impacts of burnout include:

  • Increased staff turnover
  • High number of sick leave/sick days
  • Reduced staff productivity
  • Poor client communication
  • Reduced client satisfaction
  • Reduced level of patient care


The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association approached the ACER team to assist them in developing I Matter. I Matter is an online veterinary mental wellness portal providing knowledge and strategies to help them build resilience, cope, and respond to the challenges they face in their careers.

Collaboration for Scientific Communication

ACER collaborated to develop I Matter with Dr. Jennifer Perret, a practicing veterinarian and PhD candidate at the Ontario Veterinary College’s Department of Population Medicine. Dr. Perret was instrumental in providing guidance on the subject matter of the portal, as well as directing the team to evidence-based approaches to help veterinarians reduce stress, and build resilience.

Read Dr. Perret’s PhD dissertation:

Mental health of veterinarians in Canada: Prevalence of outcomes, associations with veterinarian characteristics, and impacts on client perceptions of care

I Matter: An Evidence-Based, Multimodal Platform

Visit the I Matter website

With development led by ACER, the I Matter portal features sections with suggestions for personal care (I Matter), how to help members of the veterinary team (We Matter), and strategies for business owners on how to prioritize mental wellness for a healthy team and practice (Business Matters).

The website features an overview of mental health and wellness, strategies for coping, and nine podcasts about veterinarian experiences with mental health and wellness related their practice. ACER’s Dr. Steven Roche sat down with Dr. Peter Conlon, former Assistant Dean of the Ontario Veterinary College, Dr. Sue Dorland, an Ontario veterinarian and current president of the Board of Directors for the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, and veterinarians in small, large, and exotic animal medicine. Visit the podcasts section of our portfolio to listen!

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