LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – At Hearts Alive Village, it’s been a struggle to staff veterinarians for various reasons, but what many don’t talk about is the high suicide rates among the doctors too.

“This is a very special piece we had made for a special woman,” Christy Stevens, executive director at Hearts Alive Village shared with 8 News Now.

Steven’s showing a piece of artwork that was done to honor a local veterinarian who committed suicide five years ago.

Artwork displayed at Hearts Alive Village Animal Clinic in honor of a local veterinarian. (KLAS)

“Her loss was absolutely tragic, and so we want to make sure that everyone is reminded every day of her sacrifice and that her legacy truly lives on,” Stevens adds.

A mental health crisis not many know about except for those in the field who endure the strenuous working conditions day in and day out.

“Unfortunately, I do have friends and colleagues who have committed suicide, which is unfortunate, Faye Varias, Veterinarian at ‘Hearts Alive Village’ said.

“It’s a tough thing and it’s something you have to keep front of mind and we have really made that commitment to take care of each other at our clinic,” Stevens said.

Hearts Alive Village Animal Clinic (KLAS)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six veterinarians has considered suicide throughout their career.

While male veterinarians are 1.6 times more likely to die by suicide than the general population, female veterinarians are 2.4 times more likely. 80% of veterinarians in the workforce are women.

In addition, the American Animal Hospital Association reported that between 15,000 and 18,000 veterinarian openings will go unfilled by 2031.

“They recruit us hard because of the shortage. I was getting recruited during my third year of vet school,” Varias said.

From the lack of vet schools available to low wages, and high turnover rate, the ability to hire veterinarians and vet techs has not been easy.

“The biggest thing for us is to retain who we have and honestly, it’s been two years of difficulty for us finding the right vets to fit what we are doing,” Stevens shared.

Hearts Alive Village is doing what it can to combat the mental health crisis by offering off-site unlimited therapy to its staff members in need.

Not One More Vet is an online resource that provides the necessary support to all members of the veterinary teams and students who are struggling.