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Dental Hygiene Newswire

News and research for Ontario dental hygienists

Anxiety and depression in oral health professionals

Daily stressors oral health professionals may experience include financial pressure, tight schedules, practice management issues, concern over reimbursement, uncooperative clients, and physical demands. These pressures are often accompanied by personal characteristics, such as perfectionism and prioritization of others’ needs. As a result, oral health professionals are prone to distress, poor mental health, and burnout, especially with long exposure to these stressors.

Signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety include:

  • Excessive worry
  • Impaired social, occupational, or other functions
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue or sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Significant changes to mood (irritability, decreased enjoyment)
  • Somatic pain
  • Suicidal thoughts or thoughts about death and injury

Given the prevalence and potential impact of anxiety and depression, increasing awareness of the signs of mental health disorders is imperative.

Tools are available to help screen for anxiety and depression, which can benefit both clients and providers. It is also important to identify potential signs and symptoms of mental health conditions within the profession, promote healthy work environments, and reduce the impact of stress on the profession.

This article serves as a call to action to improve support for mental health among all members of the oral health team.

Click here to find mental health support

If you or someone you may know is thinking about suicide, call or text 9-8-8.

9-8-8: Suicide Crisis Helpline is available in English and French, 24 hours a day and seven days a week, across Canada.

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