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Mental Health Resources for Zoological Professionals

If you or someone you know is in crisis call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741). These free and confidential services are available 24/7/365.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way that we live, think, and work. The events of the past year and a half have led to increased feelings of stress, worry, and anxiety in many people, and it is more important now than ever to take care of your mental health.

Professionals working with captive wildlife are under particular duress right now as they work hard to care for both their animals and themselves in the face of a pandemic capable of infecting humans and animals. In order to address some of the challenges currently being faced by those working within or in tangent with the exotic animal industry, ZAHP has compiled a list of mental health resources to help professionals navigate this difficult time. 

Growing Resiliency for Aquarium and Zoo Employees, LLC (GRAZE)

GRAZE was founded in 2020 by Erin McNally and Shannon McKinney, who saw a need for increased mental health resources and support within the zoological community. GRAZE offers training, certifications, and workshops and regularly hosts events and webinars pertaining to topics in mental health.

American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offers a wide variety of mental health resources, especially for those working with animals in clinical or veterinary settings. You can visit their Wellbeing Resources page to learn more or take a look at some of the resources offered by AVMA below:

International Critical Incident Stress Foundation (ICISF)

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) is a method of helping first responders and others who have been involved in critical incidents that leave them emotionally and/or physically affected by those incidents. The International Critical Stress Foundation (ICISF) offers resources such as handouts, podcasts, and videos on its site for first responders, healthcare workers, and more. You can learn more by visiting their site or by taking a look at some featured resources below:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Achieving Corporate Excellence, Inc.

Achieving Corporate Excellence, Inc. (ACE), owned by Cynthia Krosky, CSP, LCSW. With Krosky’s extensive experience working with veterinarians, aquarists, curators, vet techs, and keepers, and her previous experience working in an aquarium, she and her group are well-equipped to help professionals in the zoological community. Some of the topics that Krosky has spoken and focused on in her practice include the human-animal bond (HAB), the emotional effects of the HAB on caretakers, and suicide in the zoological industry. 

ACE currently offers a variety of resources and training courses, such as Assisting Individuals in Crisis, Group Crisis Intervention After a Critical Incident, and Mental Health First Aid for Adults, along with general professional development and leadership courses.

COVID Coach

COVID Coach is a free app created by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. It was designed to help everyone, including veterans and service members, support their own self-care and wellbeing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The app offers various resources for coping during the COVID-19 pandemic, including educational tools, mood trackers, and graphs to help track your progress and growth over time. You can download the app for free from iTunes or Google Play.

COVID-19: Fear Zone, Learning Zone, Growth Zone

This online guide, offered by Calm Sage, will help you determine which mental “zone” you are or have been living in during the COVID-19 pandemic. This tool also provides you with tips and guidance on how to move past your current zone and into a growth mindset to help boost your mental and physical health.

 

Additional Literature on COVID-19 and Mental Health: