Routine, daily mental checks, attitude adjustment, and perspective. Gratitude, positivity, foresight, and perpetual resilience. What if your new co-worker could share their thoughts? Would you hear some of those same words, knowing they were preparing to be the best co-worker they can be for their workday?

However, they don’t seem like themselves today. They don’t seem to be present to work with you. Reactive to your needs, listening to what you’re saying, as though their performance hinges on your cooperation. Consideration for your needs should matter to them. Are they trying their best to “fake it” until the end of the workday? What if they could be honest with you? What if they could tell you they had a crummy night before and the morning came too quickly? That their lives are not simple right now. As much as they love their job, they are feeling overwhelmed and burned out.

You are thankful when you think about the workplace code of ethics. The team’s commitment to being a psychologically safe place to work . . . where honesty, openness, and sharing is not risky. Your manager “gets it” and has received the training they need to provide resources, support, emotional intelligence, and psychological hazard knowledge.

They can steer you and your co-workers in the right direction for support when you need it. You like how everyone regularly “checks in” with your manager, completes occupational mental health assessments and controls psychological hazards where they can. Your manager understands that Veterinary workplaces are unique places to work, where there are more than just physical health risks. Mental health hazards are real. Compassion fatigue is exhausting and burnout just hurts all over, not to mention anxiety over an unexpected event, client abuse, moral distress, and the apathy you felt before you learned about how a psychologically safe workplace made you love your job again.

Yes, you want to remind your new co-worker that it’s “okay not to feel okay.” You encourage them to reach out to your manager to find the support they need. Psychological safety at work is all about promoting and protecting mental health, not feeling alone, self-doubting, or isolating oneself as if working in a silo, when things don’t feel right.

Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. It’s a shared belief held by members of your team that others on the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish you for speaking up, asking questions and offering a genuine consideration for what it means to be part of the psychologically safe Veterinary workplace.