Suicide Prevention Training for Veterinary Professionals

This three-part course explores suicide prevention strategies to support veterinary medicine professionals. This course will take approximately three hours to complete and meets state licensure requirements for veterinary professionals in Washington.

Learning Objectives

Module I - LEARN Saves Lives: Suicide Prevention for Veterinary Professionals (1 hour)

In this video, we will cover basic statistics and facts about suicide and learn skills to connect with someone who may be considering suicide.

Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the public health issue of suicide and why people may consider by suicide.
  • Identify, understand, and be ready to support someone who may be at risk for suicide
  • Apply the LEARN steps in a practice scenario.

Module II - The Intersection of Wellness & Suicide Prevention: Supporting the Health of Veterinary Medicine Professionals (1.5 hours)

In this video, we will explore challenges and opportunities for wellbeing and resilience in veterinary practice.

Learning Objectives

  • Define and describe wellness-related concepts as they relate to the veterinary profession
  • Understand the importance of conversations about wellness and suicidality in reducing stigma and increasing connection
  • Identify and understand available resources for veterinary professionals and recommend appropriate resources for a wide variety of scenarios
  • Apply this knowledge to create resilient individuals and teams

Module III - Access to Lethal Means (0.5 hours)

In this video, we'll review ways of thinking about access to lethal means for ending one’s life, as well as reducing ease of access in veterinary practice.   

Learning Objectives

  • Understand thoughtful storage and access to high-risk medications and other lethal means
  • Mitigate risk by limiting access to lethal means for veterinary professionals experiencing mental health crisis and/or suicidal ideation
  • Increase awareness and skills for intervening colleagues in crisis
  • Encourage individual and collective responsibility to keep humans and animals safe
Course summary
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Charlene Ray, MSW is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker practicing as a therapist, mentor, and workshop facilitator for 37 years. She also works for Forefront Suicide Prevention as a master training specialist. Charlene studied mindful self-com-passion, nature-based therapies, rites of passage, suicide prevention, grief and loss therapy, poetry therapy, therapeutic storytelling, and guided imagery, She blends all of the traditions and techniques, with her intuitive work, to create an individualized and powerful experience for each client and program she facilitates. Charlene also facilitates the Mindful Self Compassion 8-week course for adults and has led programs for school districts on various mental health topics and is a frequent speaker at Sno-Isle Library Issues that Matter events. She is an international bestselling author of four stories published in compilations published by Ignite.

Charlene presented a 2020 TEDx talk on Seeing Grief in a New Light.

Dr. Sonja Olson grew up in Maryland, USA. She graduated from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine with a focus on exotic animal and conservation medicine. Her professional path led to over 25 years of practicing clinical small animal and exotic emergency medicine. Dr. Olson’s full-time role currently is Veterinary Wellness Educator for the BluePearl Health & Well-being Team and Founder of Heartstorming Wellness - both roles support veterinary associates more globally through podcasts, writing, speaking, & creatively collaborating with other like-minded souls. (

  • Current Certifications: MHFA Instructor, CF Educator, Mindful Meditation Instructor. Pending Certification in Trauma-Informed Care (Summer 2023).  
  • Author: “Creating Well-being and Building Resilience in the Veterinary Profession: A Call to Life” (available now in both print and online versions; Audible version will be available Spring 2023).

Dr. Laura Moss received a BS in Nursing from Washington State University and MD from University of Washington School of Medicine.  She completed psychiatry residency and addiction fellowship at the University of Washington and the Seattle VA Medical Center, and is board certified in General and Addiction Psychiatry through the ABPN.  She was the director of the Women’s Trauma and Recovery Center at the Seattle VA, an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, and later became the Medical Director and the Director of the Health Care Professionals Program at the Hazelden Betty Ford, Oregon. Currently, she is the Associate Medical Director for the Washington Physicians Health Program.

A licensed veterinarian or a retired active licensed veterinarian shall complete a board-approved, one-time training in suicide prevention that is at least three hours in length. Training must include suicide awareness and prevention, mental health and well-being, and imminent harm by lethal means.
(1) This training must be completed by the end of the first full continuing education reporting period after July 1, 2022, or during the first full continuing education reporting period after initial licensure, whichever is later.
(2) The board accepts only courses that are listed on the board's website.
(3) Training completed between June 11, 2020, and June 30, 2022, that meets the requirements of subsection (2) of this section, is accepted as meeting the one-time training requirement of this section.
(4) The hours spent completing the training in suicide prevention under this section count toward meeting applicable continuing education requirements for veterinarian license renewal.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.92.030, 18.92.280, and 2020 cc 229 and 76. WSR 22-11-062, § 246-933-435, filed 5/16/22, effective 6/16/22.]
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Required Hardware/software

This course requires connection to the internet.