Having worked in dentistry for over 40 years, I know that with the ups, there can also be significant downs, and some days, for all of us, it feels like the weight of responsibility and the stresses placed upon us are can be too great.
We know stress and burnout is a problem for dentists. 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.
The important thing is knowing what to do about it, and who you can turn to. It's important to have your own support network, friends, colleagues, family, to talk to. But at the BDA, we also really want to help support our dentists, especially when times get tough.
Free support for BDA members: helpline and resources
We've recently launched a new service for our members, partnering with the award-winning employee assistance programme from Health Assured.
This is a free, confidential benefit designed to help members with personal and professional issues that affect your home life or work life, health and general wellbeing. BDA members can access their helpline 24/7, 365 days a year – find out more on our website.
Tackling stress in dentistry is one of the core themes of my Presidency this year. I have seen too many good colleagues burnt out by the pressure of their working lives and I am keen that all our dentists are supported and can have fulfilling careers but with a good work-life balance.
We will continue to research the underlying factors of stress in the profession and to highlight the issues we face and how we can tackle them. Find out more about our work and some of the other tools we are providing, to help raise awareness of the importance of good mental health.
In Northern Ireland, I have worked in partnership with many organisations to support dentists' mental wellbeing, and we set up the Probing Stress in Dentistry project in 2016, to help support our dentists.
I'm keen to see all four UK countries working with the relevant agencies to ensure dentists can get access to the help they need, when they need it, from the right people, without shame or fear.
No-one should have to feel that they are all alone – if you are feeling the pressure, or if you think a colleague is facing difficulties, then please reach out and seek support, we are here to help you.
Roz McMullan, President
These free helplines are available for anyone needing support:
- Samaritans 116123 (Freephone)
- Lifeline 0808 808 8000 (Free to people living in NI)
Working for you
We will continue to campaign to tackle stress in dentistry. 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.