Speak out on mental health

It’s important for the profession to put its weight behind the door of change, Josie Hutchings.

Barely a week goes by when there isn’t some discussion around the poor mental health of dentists, particularly around high levels of stress and anxiety.

This could be a reflection of what is happening within wider society with recent statistics showing that 74% of people have felt so stressed they’ve been overwhelmed or unable to cope.

Within dentistry, those feeling stressed or anxious often attribute it to a fear of complaints and litigation, concerns about meeting GDC standards and work pressures such as targets and dissatisfied or difficult patients.

Fortunately, there are organisations, such as the Dental Health Support Trust, the BDA Benevolent Fund, Mental Dental and Confidental, set up specifically to support dentists who are struggling with their mental health.

But while support is, of course, fantastic and clearly much-needed, what is also just as necessary is real change that alleviates the pressures facing the profession.

Driving change

One way this can be driven forward is by dentists themselves continuing to share their experiences and feelings, and adding to the growing data and evidence about the state of the profession’s mental health.

Practice Plan’s Dentistry Confidence Monitor survey has recently opened to allow NHS and private dentists to do just that, with a new section of questions specifically on mental health.

Joe Hendron, owner of a former prototype practice, said: ‘It is incumbent on the dental profession to make their voices heard, however possible, to try to bring about change – change for our colleagues and for our patients.

‘I urge you to participate in this survey and put your weight behind the door of change.’

You can make your voice heard and fill in the survey by clicking here.

Read more from Josie Hutchings:

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