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Mental Health Awareness Week

This week marks Mental Health Awareness Week, the campaign aimed at tackling the stigma surrounding mental health and creating a society that prevents mental health issues from developing.

This year’s mental health awareness theme revolves around ‘Anxiety’.

As one of the most common mental health problems we face, there are many things in our personal and professional lives that can lead to anxiety, however, without intervention it can get out of control and turn into a mental health condition.

A recent mental health survey around stress and anxiety shows that at least a quarter of adults felt so anxious it has stopped them from doing the things they want to do.

Anxiety and burnout are increasingly prevalent within dentistry. A recent survey by the DDU shows that 68% of dental professionals have felt their anxiety levels have increased since the pandemic. Dentistry can be a time-consuming profession at the best of times, making it difficult to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Learning how to handle and minimise anxiety can be vital to avoid stress-induced burnout.

Across the UK, dentistry as a profession has been facing an increasing amount of anxiety due to the issues exacerbated by the pandemic, from the staffing shortages and inadequate contract reform, to soaring clawback.

Anxiety can have severe negative effects on both your physical and mental health, such as long-term illness and declining performance. These issues impact on personal relationships and can also affect your practice.

It’s vital to recognise signs of anxiety and know where to find support to manage them. We are constantly working to support you through understanding the underlying issues affecting your mental wellbeing. We provide many resources to support members and non-members through challenging periods.

All members have access to Health Assured, a confidential service designed to help you deal with personal and professional problems that are affecting your wellbeing. Members can access the helpline 24/7, 365 days a year.

  • Life support: Face-to-face counselling sessions to support you at your convenience
  • Legal information: Advice for you on issues such as debt management, accountancy, lawsuits, consumer disputes, property or neighbour disputes
  • Bereavement support: Experienced counsellors to support you through grief and a team of legal advisors to support you practically
  • Medical information: Qualified nurses are on hand to offer advice on a range of medical or health related issues
  • CBT online: A range of CBT self-help modules, informative factsheets and advice videos from leading qualified counsellors.

Our members also have access to resources on our CPD hub including verifiable webinars on how to support mental health issues in the workplace and create a supportive environment for dental teams.

For non-members, all dental health professionals across Wales can access confidential mental health support through Canopi. The platform offers free and confidential mental health support and a variety of resources, including self-help resources, support from Wellbeing Allies, guided self-help, and virtual and face-to-face therapies with accredited specialists.

All dentists facing personal difficulties in Northern Ireland have access to the General Dental Services (GDS) Assistance Programme provided by the social enterprise Inspire. The service offers six free counselling sessions and an online support hub with CBT based self-help programs and digital intervention for situational stress, anxiety, depression, and self-esteem.

Scottish dentists have access to the National Wellbeing Hub, an evidence-based resource aimed at promoting, enhancing, and supporting your psychological wellbeing. They provide resources to support your mental, financial, and physical health in your personal and professional life.

During challenging times it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Wellbeing Support for the Dental Team offers further resources and information on how to recognise and prioritise your mental health needs.

We will continue to work tirelessly on your behalf, holding to account all those in the business of commissioning, contracting, and regulating dentistry, as well as our one-to-one support for individuals.

Further support

If you ever feel overwhelmed please contact Lifeline on 0808 808 8000 for free 24/7 support in NI or the Samaritans on Freephone 116 123.