Veterinary students show higher rate of depression


Veterinary medicine students are more likely to struggle with depression than human medicine students, undergraduate students and the general population, according to several recent collaborative studies from Kansas State University researchers.

In a study conducted by Mac Hafen, therapist and clinical instructor in K-State’s college of Veterinary Medicine, 32 percent of veterinary medicine students surveyed showed symptoms of depression, compared to just 23 percent of human medicine students who showed symptoms above the clinical cutoff.

Veterinarians deal with stressors that human medicine doctors do not have to experience, such as frequently discussion euthanasia with clients. Additionally, veterinarians are required to understand a wide variety of animal species rather than focusing on the human body.

The researchers are optimistic that by helping veterinary medicine students.

“The hope is that we can identify some ways to help alleviate some of the depression and the symptoms of depression and anxiety that might be occurring,” Hafen said.

Researchers are continuing to gather empirical data for this study and analyze their findings as they prepare to publish their third article in the Journal of Veterinary Medicine Education.