While recent events including the 2020 lockdown have led to a dramatic increase in mental health concerns, few industries have been hit as hard by this epidemic as healthcare. Read on to see how this situation is impacting dental workers, and what can be done to improve circumstances.
While the dental industry provides opportunities for very rewarding work, it is not without its downsides, including the risk of mental health issues including depression and anxiety. Unsurprisingly, this situation has only gotten worse in the wake of Covid-19, with many in the industry struggling to make ends meet with fewer patients seeking out oral health care.
A recent study concluded that between 2020 and 2021, 17.7% of dental health care workers reported anxiety symptoms, 10.7% reported depression symptoms and 8.3% reported symptoms of both1. And while these numbers are cause for concern, it is worth noting that these numbers represent a lower rate than the general public. Additionally, many reported decreased anxiety after receiving the vaccine, giving mental health professionals hope that the situation will continue to improve.
Even before the pandemic, dentists faced unique struggles due to the stressful nature of their jobs. The suicide rate of dentists is twice the rate of the general public, while stress-related cardiovascular diseases are also known to pose a major threat2.
There are many reasons for this, each of which can be improved with focus and attention. Dentists should be sure to stay involved in their communities to mitigate the isolating nature of their work. Additionally, proper financial planning can relieve the stress that accompanies medical school debt. Despite the long hours, it is important to find time for exercise, outdoor activities, and unique hobbies. Above all, dental professionals should not hesitate to reach out for the help they need.
- Versaci, Mary Beth. “Dental Professionals on Early Front Lines of Pandemic Report Anxiety Depression.” American Dental Association, 25 July 2022, https://www.ada.org/publications/ada-news/2022/july/dental-professionals-on-early-front-lines-of-pandemic-report-anxiety-depression.
- Lang, DDS, D.Ortho, Randy. “Stress in Dentistry – It Could Kill You!” Oral Health Group, 1 Sept. 2007, https://www.oralhealthgroup.com/features/stress-in-dentistry-it-could-kill-you/.
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Article Title: Mental Health Concerns Amongst Dental Professionals