Hi, I am Sophie's Dad. Sophie sadly took her life. VETs have a high suicide rate, one of the highest of any profession. Sophie was a brilliant and gifted VET, a compassionate and caring person to her family, friends and animals. I have had a lot of support from people who like our family want no-one else to go through our experience. So what could Sophie’s legacy look like.
Clearly from my conversations with Sophie and our conversations since, a brilliant VET like Sophie did find abusive clients difficult to handle. Many times this was about money. What do you mean this is going to cost so much? It happens more than you think. There were other challenges that I would talk to Sophie about. She loved complex medicines and emergency medicine because she was good at problem solving. But she hated the after hours and the long hours and often having to go back without sufficient break as this would impact her social life. She was studying leadership in the weeks before her passing as she said she want to improve the Industry through better managed practices.
So the family is setting up a fund to raise money to see how we can make it better for staff in VET practices. We’d love people to contribute to this fund as we’d love to raise $20k initially. How would we use this money?
We do want to talk with people in the Industry. I have had a chat with Gail Anderson was Head of the Adelaide University VET school when the first intake in 2008 including Sophie went through. We brainstormed some ideas;
• A bursary/scholarship for young VETs to get leadership skills to champion change within the Industry.
• A stipend to support further research in to how we can provide a safer workplace for VETs and Vet staff. Gail has already indicated a psychologist at Adelaide University who is an expert in this area who could support.
• A campaign to inform pet owners that the VET Industry is not subsidised like the people health through Medicare. Hence, owning a pet has responsibilities and that means a financial one.
• A campaign to inform the general public that being abusive at VET practices (and other workplaces) will not be tolerated.
• A model of a practice that is safe for the workers eg workload, a check-in for a ‘shit’ day, structures to support/protect staff from those difficult conversations.
Fundraising team (3)
This team raised $51,862 from 485 other donations.