As a profession, dentistry has always been highly stressful, but in the last couple of years dentists have been facing an increasing amount of stress across the UK. Worryingly, almost half of dentists claim stress in their job exceeds their ability to cope.
Anxiety, stress and burnout are increasingly prevalent within dentistry. Recent figures show that 68% of general dental practice owners and 47% of community dentists report their morale as low or very low.
While not all stress has negative effects, long-term stress can lead to physical, mental, and emotional tension and it has an adverse impact on patient safety and personal relationships. It’s vital to recognise what stress and anxiety look like, take steps to manage job stress, and know where to go for help.
Feeling supported through periods of stress can be crucial to being able to cope. We are constantly working to support you with the underlying reasons for low morale and job satisfaction in the profession. We provide many resources to support members and non-members through periods of stress.
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.
Members also have access to resources on our CPD hub where you will find verifiable webinars on tackling stress, how to identify the triggers of work-related stress, the ways it can physically and psychologically manifest and how to effectively overcome it. We also provide webinars on how to support mental health issues in the workplace and creating 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. They offer various levels of mental health support 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 wellbeing both in your personal and professional life.
During challenging times being reminded that we are not alone is very important. Being aware of the tools available to support you can be the first step in your journey towards improved mental health.
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.
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.