We've welcomed the Health Secretary's announcement that dentists in England will at last have access to a comprehensive mental health service on par with doctors. The NHS Practitioner Health programme offers free access to their confidential advice and support - staffed by experts whose training is tailored to understand the specific circumstances of clinical life.
consultation on NI’s mental health strategy 2021-31 recently concluded, and we continue to work with elected representatives and Government stakeholders to ensure that this momentum manifests itself in truly collaborative and supportive services.
The following services and resources are available to dentists and their teams in Northern Ireland, as well as the UK-wide resources listed above:
- Download this
Wellness Resource which includes useful links to the support available to dental teams in Northern Ireland.
- Download this
guide to mental wellbeing support for the whole dental team.
- Occupational Health is available to all dentists in Northern Ireland and DCPs in the salaried services, as well as GDPs.
- Inspire NI have put in place a
GDS Assistance Programme, a one-stop-shop for wellbeing and mental health support specifically designed to meet the needs of GDPs in Northern Ireland. It includes a free, 24-hour, confidential support helpline 0800 389 5362 and off-site face-to-face counselling, as well as a range of digital tools and resources to support your wellbeing.
- If you are worried about your own or a colleagues mental health, drug or alcohol use, you can contact the Dentists Health Support Trust for professional and confidential support and advice.
- The HSC NI in conjunction with ORCHA have launched a Healthcare Apps Library. Available apps include; stress management, staying fit, well-being and improving sleep.
- For those suffering bereavement, there is help available for you and your loved ones through the Family Support government website.
- For those impacted by suicide or suicide attempts, it is important to reach out and seek professional help. Lifeline 0808 808 8000 is a free 24/7 support service based in Northern Ireland.
- Suicide awareness continues to be run twice a year by NIMDTA with courses being hosted inside and outside Belfast. There is access for the whole dental team to this training module.
Stress awareness and management training is available for all GDC registrants on the CPD hub in two one-hour modules.
- Students and trainees can
access university and deanery resources which are available to all postgraduate trainees.
For all dentists who are concerned they may have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, contact the NI Doctors and Dentists Group, Dr. John Burton
firstname.lastname@example.org on 028 7963 3265 or 07710 741 169, where you will find confidential professional help and support.
- And finally, if you are experiencing financial difficulty the BDA Benevolent Fund might be able to help. The Fund is open to all dentists, dental students (not just BDA members) and their dependents.
BDA Scotland has been working jointly with Scottish Government to produce mental health and wellbeing resources for dentists and their teams across Scotland. This compilation highlights guidance and support resources available for you to draw on for help, as and when you may need it. We are acutely aware of the growing impact the Coronavirus pandemic is having on our professional and personal lives. You can also access a range of UK-wide resources.
BDA Scotland and the Scottish Dental Practice Committee made great strides in getting dentists and their teams access to the NHS Occupational Health Advice and Guidance Service. This service, introduced in June 2018, offers support to those experiencing stress and is delivered through the NHS Boards.
A research report on
the impact of the pandemic on dentists' mental health in Scotland contains some concerning results:
- 27% of survey respondents reported significant depressive symptomology
- 55% of primary care staff rated themselves as emotionally exhausted.
We worked with the Scottish Government to produce a
summary of mental health and wellbeing resources for dental teams. We hope this to be a useful resource for dealing with the problem, however the primary focus must be on prevention.
NHS Education for Scotland (NES) has stated that it will incorporate dentists' mental health in its future work, including follow-up studies. We have discussed with NES how we may contribute to this important issue.
NHS dentists in Wales currently have no specific support service from Government for mental health wellbeing. BDA Wales and representatives from our Committees are speaking to Assembly Members, Health Boards and Government to establish what support is already accessible and identify any gaps. In the meantime, you can access the range of UK-wide resources above.