Veterinary legend urges graduates to mind their mental health

Veterinary legend urges graduates to mind their mental health

One of Northern Ireland’s best-known vets has told NI Veterinary Today the best advice she can give to new graduates is to “find a mentor you can trust and look after your physical and mental health”.

Pat Hart, who learned her trade “standing on an orange box” watching her father work in his Cedar Grove practice, told the magazine:  “Looking back, I know there were times when I was overwhelmed, where it was a constant grind just to get through. It is normal to have ups and downs and sometimes we will face a perfect storm of events at home and work.”

Pat, who is now enjoying her retirement spending time with husband Charlie and two-year-old granddaughter Lucy, is a volunteer for Vet Support and even took the time to qualify as a therapist after retiring.

She told NI Veterinary Today: “I had heard Joe Griffin the founder of Human Givens Psychotherapy College speak at John Hill’s SPVS conference during his presidency year and enrolled on some of the college courses.

“We all know we have physical needs for food water and shelter. We also have an emotional need for some sense of control and security in our lives. A need to give and receive attention, for a sense of status and being a valued member of our team or tribe and most importantly a need for meaning and purpose, a reason to get out of bed in the morning. These are actual needs not wants and are necessary for us to remain in good mental health.

“I completed the Diploma course and exams over a couple of years and qualified as a therapist in 2021, working mainly with PTSD and phobias.

“What I know now is that using techniques taught by Des Rice allows us to stay calm, and think our way through problems, maybe with some help from a listening ear. If that ear has been trained and is familiar with the challenges of practice and the profession so much the better.”