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Doctors in Distress announces new mental health support groups for dentists


  Posted by: Dental Design      10th May 2023

For the first time, Doctors in Distress will be focusing our expertise to support the acute need of all healthcare professionals working in dentistry.

The need could not be greater.

Last year’s report by Dentistry revealed, almost a quarter of respondents (23%) said they had sought help for their mental health, and concerningly 14% had contemplated suicide. 68% of respondents felt their professional and personal relationships had suffered due to work-related stress, and 77% were forced to practice “defensive dentistry” – a response to feeling overwhelmed by the perceived and real threats of litigation and regulation. So too, the General Dental Council’s 2021 report (Mental Health and Wellbeing in Dentistry: A Rapid Evidence Assessment. Commissioned by the General Dental Council 2021) showed the 6 key stressors for dentistry professionals over the past 14 years as:

  1. Running a business
  2. Clinical situations
  3. Covid-19 pandemic
  4. Societal and person-led stressors
  5. Regulation and litigation
  6. Poor working environment

Ann Paul, Doctors in Distress CEO said: “No one should have to go into work every day immediately on the defensive, where it is the norm to feel under threat. The impact on not just dentists’ personal mental health but on their work and the wellbeing of those around them is damaging, as shown in these reports. There needs to be a professional and cultural shift to support mental health across the professional and to stop suicide. That is why Doctors in Distress has developed this initial creative support programme for all working in the dentistry profession, to ensure you have another avenue in which to turn and express yourselves and explore the restorative and reflective impact creativity has on mental health. Participants will also build a safe community of support, as well as learn a fantastic new skill.

“It is our understanding that dentists have not been offered similar reflection through creativity groups. We know the transformative impact of this first-hand from our extensive experience running programmes for doctors and nurses with creative experts from, for example, The Royal Literacy Fund and The Royal Photographic Society. We wish to provide similar groups for dentists and will endeavour to find the creative medium most likely to create the reflective environment to be most supportive.”

Nathan Wallis, Chief of Staff at Wesleyan, said: “Many of our customers are dentists and we know that they are under huge pressures right now. The high levels of occupational stress felt by dentists can impact work, careers and family life and lead to an increased risk of burnout and emotional exhaustion.

“As a mutual, our promise is to provide specialist financial advice, support and help to give our customers the peace of mind they deserve. Doctors in Distress will be providing invaluable help for dentists supporting their mental health and we’re incredibly proud to be able to support them through our Wesleyan Foundation.

Doctors in Distress aims to protect the mental health and stop suicide of all healthcare workers. We help those who are suffering from burnout and moral injury to prevent this from deteriorating to the point of needing further mental health intervention.

There can be no healthcare without self-care.

As an independent charity Doctors in Distress enables healthcare professionals across the UK to access practical emotional support in a safe and confidential space, away from work. 

Doctors in Distress Objectives: 

  1. To promote and protect the mental health of health professionals 
  2. To reduce stigma around mental health in the health sector
  3. To promote a duty of care by employers for the mental health of health workers
  4. To develop and provide initiatives and interventions to promote & protect the mental health of health professionals

Reflective Spaces Restorative Creativity Groups  

Two 4-week sessions in the first half of the year (May-June) and repeat this in the second half of the year (September-October): 

  • Dentists Summer Creativity Programme 1
    • Start date: Monday 22nd May 2023 
    • End date:  Monday 19th June 2023 
    • Frequency:  Weekly, Mondays 12.30-1.30pm 

All groups will be conducted online in a confidential safe space with a qualified facilitator.

To express your interest in joining or if you have any queries, please email 

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