Helping a Nonprofit Improve Mental Health Resources for Animal Care Professionals
Our client, a nonprofit organization, had piloted a support group program for animal care professionals suffering from mental health issues and also sought to identify the most appropriate mechanism to deliver support.
C+R conducted a two-phase qual and quant project with veterinarians from across the United States to identify this audience’s needs and wishes for a support program.
The Problem How Are Support Programs Perceived?
A nonprofit organization had created a support group for veterinarians and other animal care professionals suffering from mental health issues. They wanted to understand whether this program would be well-received by the wider animal care community, and to also identify potential areas for improvement.
More specifically, the client wanted to:
- Understand animal care professionals’ perceptions and experiences with current support programs while identifying unmet needs
- Understand perceptions of, and attitudes around, the nonprofit’s programs, including receptivity, appeal, relevance, and motivation
- Identify optimizations that can improve ease of access, relevance, and potential effectiveness of the programs.
Multi-phase Qual and Quant
To answer our client’s questions, C+R conducted a research project with qualitative and quantitative phases.
In the qualitative phase, we conducted in-person focus groups with veterinarians to hear their perspectives on current support systems, as well as where these systems were falling short. The topics covered included stressors impacting their work life, attitudes towards and experiences with different coping mechanisms, and co-creation of an ideal support program.
Following the qualitative phase, we administered an online quantitative survey to validate and further refine learnings from the focus groups. This survey was administered to veterinarians across the nation, and they provided feedback on their unmet needs and motivations for using a support group like the one offered by our client.
A Clear Picture of Mental Health Needs and Ideas to Optimize Support Programs
Based on this multi-phase research, C+R provided the client with:
- A clear understanding of the factors related to mental well-being among animal care professionals (such as cases and clients, workplace culture and policies, etc.)
- A framework identifying critical unmet needs and desired outcomes
- Actionable guidance on how to optimize support programs and engage veterinarians to participate
- An assessment and recommendations by different types of veterinarians (age, practice type, level, years of experience, etc.)
Our research identified common stressors among animal care professionals across the personal, practice, and industry level. Personal-level issues included cases and clients, practice-level challenges included workplace culture and policies, and industry-level stressors included adequate training and positive publicity for the profession.
The research also determined what these professionals look for when seeking support for their mental health. Our client received valuable feedback on their offerings, including what animal care professionals most appreciated and ways to optimize the offerings to better fit in with their busy lives and practices.