During my BDA Presidential year, I am taking "A long, happy, healthy career" as my theme. This will give me the unique opportunity to continue this collaborative work on a national stage, so everyone involved in regulating, commissioning, and representing dentists, puts good mental health at the centre of all they do and say.
Probing Stress in Dentistry is a BDA-supported project, featuring a multi-agency group of dental professionals in Northern Ireland working to raise awareness of mental health issues and well-being. The group includes working with the BDA's Benevolent Fund, the Public Health Agency, the Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency and the Health and Social Care Board.
Anxiety, stress and burnout are prevalent within dentistry today with recent figures showing 68% of general dental practice owners and 47% of community dental practitioners reporting their morale as low or very low. A 2019 BDJ article has further indicated the high levels of stress in dentists across the UK.
As one of the members of the Probing Stress in Dentistry working group, bringing together the skills of different people to produce this document, has been humbling. We've aimed to raise awareness of the real issue of stress in the dental profession and lobby to improve the support for dentists experiencing stress.
In response to the growing need for openness about work related stress, help to access appropriate resources and the need to promote self-care, the project has produced a Training Framework, to support dentists and their teams with resilience and skills-based training and signpost to important services.
As outlined in the Training Framework, several mechanisms including a stress awareness raising tool, mental health first aid, SafeTALK and ASIST training, are all available to access for members of the dental team, at various stages.
I encourage all dentists to think about completing their Mental Health First Aid training – your involvement could really make a difference -and the NIMDTA 2-day training is absolutely free!
We hope that dentists will feel empowered to help their colleagues by learning how and when to signpost those who are feeling overwhelmed.
Roz McMullan, BDA President
Dentists seeking support in Northern Ireland can access the following local helplines:
Working for you
We will continue to work to help tackle the causes of stress in the dental profession. If you'd like to be kept up to date with our progress:
Through our policy and campaigning work, we ensure that the concerns of all sections of the profession are raised and that dentists' voices are heard at a national level.
With each new member, our voice and our influence grows. Add your voice, join today.