Dental practitioners rank highest for mental health issues

Dental practitioners are the highest-ranking occupation when it comes to mental health struggles, new data revealsDental practitioners are the highest-ranking occupation when it comes to mental health struggles, new data reveals. 

On a list assessing the health and wellbeing of job roles, dental professionals take the top spot with a score of 1.9 when it comes to mental health incidents.

This is according to research conducted by Extraction Solutions.

Coming in joint second is refuse and salvage occupations – as well as water and sewerage plant operatives – with a score of 1.6.

High rankings

Following this, occupations such as hairdressers, barbers and beauticians come in at 0.9.

Although dental practitioners rank highly for mental health conditions, they fall further down the list – number 20 out of 25 jobs – when it comes to their overall assessment.

The data ranks professions according to dermatitis, asthma, mental ill-health, sickness absence and musculoskeletal incidence.

Bakers and flour confectioners take the top overall spot for the most dangerous job, ranking highly for asthma.

Polarised profession

Even before the pandemic, dentistry was associated with high rates of mental health struggles. However, some dentists say this has worsened as a result of the pandemic. 

Lauren Harrhy, who owns a dental practice in Pontypool, Wales, set up an online support group for dentists in 2017.

Called Mental Dental, the Facebook group is a safe space for dentists to voice their feelings and seek support.

‘It’s first and foremost a support group – not advice. It’s been pretty busy during this time,’ she said.

‘I think it’s really polarised the profession in many ways. I think we are about to see a very difficult year for dentistry. This will especially be the case as financial support starts to wane as the year goes on.’

Social cost

This comes as leading bodies, including the BDA, banded together to call on the government to ramp up public health spending.

Mental health – the economic and social cost of which is estimated at £119 billion in the UK – was pinpointed as a key focus.

According to the statement, rates of depression have doubled since the onset of COVID-19 at the beginning of the year.

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