Dentists’ mental health hit by pandemic

MORE than a quarter of dentists in Scotland reported “significant depressive” symptoms during the pandemic, according to a new survey.

More than half of primary care team staff also rated themselves as “emotionally exhausted”.

The findings were revealed in a survey by NHS Education Scotland (NES), which set out to understand how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected anxiety, feelings of uncertainty and preparedness for practice in the profession. It is the first report in an ongoing project that aims to better support and prepare dental professionals during and following the pandemic.

Of the 329 people who responded, 27 per cent reported significant depressive symptoms. This compares to 18 per cent of those in a population-based group.

Amongst practice staff, 55 per cent described themselves as “emotionally exhausted”. Primary care staff also said they felt less prepared for managing their health, coping with uncertainty and financial insecurity compared with their trainee counterparts.

NES Dental Director David Felix said: "The study raises important issues around trauma, depressive symptoms and emotional exhaustion.

“Everyone in and around the dental profession has a role to play in this. It is something that NES will be incorporating into our work as we go ahead as well as following up with future studies.”

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