Veterinarian Leaders React After Shedding High Vet To Suicide​

MADISON, Wisconsin – Hearts are heavy in the Dane County’s veterinary community after one’s heart dies.

What you need to know

  • A 2018 CDC study found that male veterinarians were twice as likely to end their lives as the general population and female veterinarians three and a half times as likely to end their lives
  • A GoFundMe was created to help his fiancée pay off debts and other death-related expenses

UW Madison Veterinarian Dr. Josh Smith committed suicide earlier this month. Unfortunately, close friends say they never saw it coming.

The VCA Veterinary Emergency Services by Dr. Kai-biu Shiu from Middleton brought Dr. Smith moved to Madison after being the top Cornell trained veterinarian. He says this horrific outcome is becoming more and more of a problem for the profession.

“One in six vets has considered suicide,” Shiu said. “The research was done for the last 10 or 20 years and I think any veterinarian who’s been on the practice for five or 10 years probably knows a handful of people who lost their lives this way.

A 2018 CDC study confirms Dr. Shius report. It found that male veterinarians are twice as likely to end their lives as the general population. And female vets, three and a half times as likely.

With family blessings, Carrie Jurney, vice president of the national nonprofit Not One More Vet, Dr. Smith’s story.

“You know, I’m grateful to his family for being brave. You know I think there’s still a huge stigma on talking about suicide, “said Dr. Young.

She hopes that awareness will help the online veterinary community understand the triggers – while providing support through secure channels.

She says that quick access to drugs, bullying, and a whole host of other problems can affect the vet’s life.

In Dr. Smith’s case, Dr. Shiu, whether the stress of his upcoming wedding and debts from years of special training played a role in his untimely death.

“He went through a five-year course that had an income of less than $ 40,000 and was burdened with six-figure debt. It’s really hard to get out of that,” said Dr. Shiu.

Part of the reason why a new GoFundMe page has now been set up for his fiancé as it takes on the burden of paying off the mortgage.

“We all just have to take care of each other,” said Dr. Shiu about the unfortunate situation.

In the meantime, Dr. Shius’ practice is a quiet place to meet Dr. To honor Smith’s memory. The meditation room also has additional brochures on suicide prevention.

If you or a loved one needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Line at 1-800-273-TALK.

Learn more about how to get Dr. Smith’s fiancé can assist.

Those struggling with their mental health can send HOPELINE to 741-741. People in Spanish-speaking communities can contact Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio at 1-888-628-9454.