LINNAEUS CREATES GROUNDBREAKING HEALTH AND WELLBEING ROLE
One of the largest veterinary service providers in the UK has created a new senior role to help deliver the finest health and wellbeing care for its Associates.
Linnaeus, which is part of the global Mars Veterinary Health Group, has an enviable reputation for delivering gold standard care and treatment to pets across Britain and Ireland.
Now, it has appointed highly experienced vet Rachel Bowron as the company’s first group mental health and wellbeing manager to deliver the same care to its team members.
Rachel said: “Linnaeus has created this role as part of its commitment to improving mental health and wellbeing care across the company.
“I feel very privileged to have been given this responsibility. It’s my ambition to positively influence the wellbeing of people working within Linnaeus and to reduce the incidence and impact of the mental health issues which so commonly affect us.
“I would be delighted if, over the next few years, the majority of Linnaeus Associates become comfortable with talking openly about their mental health, and using positive strategies such as meditation and self-compassion becomes commonplace.”
For the last few years Rachel has focused more on helping colleagues, such as supporting graduates and students, mentoring, staff training and offering pet bereavement advice.
She has also been a ‘wellbeing leader’ and mental health first aider and earlier this year gained a Postgraduate Certificate in Psychology of Kindness and Wellbeing at Work from the University of Sussex.
This all makes Rachel an ideal choice as Linnaeus acts to tackle the industry-wide increase in veterinary professionals seeking help for mental health issues.
She added: “These longstanding issues are the reason behind the creation of my role and my personal motivation for taking it on.
“There are many people in the veterinary profession who are already making huge efforts to bring about positive change, and my new job is another step towards us looking after each other as effectively as we look after animals.”
Rachel, who has 27 years’ experience as a primary care vet, said her own experiences during Covid-19, which saw her reach out to Laura Woodward, an accredited counsellor, will also help to equip her for this groundbreaking role. Laura has just released a book entitled ‘Mental Wellbeing and Positive Psychology for Veterinary Professionals’ and is also a vet at Village Vet in Hampstead.
Rachel said: “My own mental health experience during Covid-19 will be a benefit in this role.
“The repeated, small moral injuries of this prolonged period left me feeling very unhappy and effected by post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and burnout.
“What I learned from Laura during my counselling sessions was the start of the process that led me to study for my postgraduate certificate, without which I would not be equipped to do my new job.
“I firmly believe my personal experience enables me to connect and empathise with associates.
“As a vet, I also understand the pressures, and equally the highs, that come with working in a clinical role.”
Saskia Connell, people and organisation director at Linnaeus, said: “This is an important new position within the company and Rachel has a vital role to perform.
“She will partner with the Mars Veterinary Health global team to align, strengthen and deliver our Linnaeus health and wellbeing strategy.
“She’ll bring our cultural shifts and behaviours to life by helping to create environments where all associates can thrive. We’ve asked her to develop and administer our mental health and wellbeing training and education programmes, guidance and policies.
“Rachel will also work to ensure there are enough mental health first aiders across the group, create wellbeing champions across the organisation and be a key point of contact for situations providing guidance, support and solutions.
“We wish her every success and are confident she will help transform the depth and breadth of the mental health and wellbeing support we offer to our expert teams.”
Rachel, who is married with two children and lives in West Sussex, is now visiting Linnaeus practices across the country as well as attending key meetings at the company’s central support office in Solihull, West Midlands.
Away from work she enjoys watching West End musicals, walking, taking ballet lessons and has been a school governor for 13 years.
For more information on Linnaeus, visit linnaeusgroup.co.uk.