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Tackling Mental Health in the Dental Office

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Mental health touches 1 in 5 Canadians and many of those are patients in need of oral and general care. Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses present a serious barrier not only to diagnosis and treatment, but also to acceptance in the community. One dentist set out to do something about this issue. In our conversation, Dr. James Frizzell emphasized the important role dentists play in identifying and tackling mental illness and abuse in patients.

Dr. Frizzell is a general dentist in Niagara Falls. He graduated in 1988 from the University of Toronto, practiced in the Canadian Armed Forces for some time. He endeavours to stay up to date with the latest advances in cosmetic care and technology through extensive continuing education.    

We always want to hear your thoughts and questions about this post and other topics.

Leave a comment in the box below or send us your feedback by email at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca or call us at 1-855-716-2747.

Until next time!

Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager

Read/download the transcript of the conversation (PDF)

Read/download the conversation about the importance of the dental team in identifying physical abuse (PDF)

Oasis Moment/Preview (2.50″)

Full Conversation (11.48″)

The Importance of the Dental Team (2.48″)

2 Comments

  1. Lesia Waschuk January 8, 2019

    You’ve written: “Mental illness touches 1 in 5 Canadians and many of those are patients in need of oral and general care. Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses present a serious barrier not only to diagnosis and treatment, but also to acceptance in the community.” If mental illness touches 1 in 5 Canadians then many of these will be health professionals as well, including dentists. It’s well known that medical students suffer from anxiety in much larger numbers than the general university student population. When we were in dental school we were told that dentists have higher suicide rates than other professionals, which signalled a higher rate of depression. As a dental educator, I recently attended training on recognizing the signs of a mental health crisis in students and received information about resources available on campus, and expressed my hope that this topic will be revisited so that new clinical instructors can be similarly trained and informed. But how can we encourage dentists to attend to their own mental health, and to recognize when a colleague is in crisis, once they graduate? I expect that the stigma attached to mental illnesses may also present a barrier to the diagnosis and treatment of affected health professionals. I know that the members of the dental community who access mental health care through CDSPI’s referral service is confidential, but it would be interesting to have an idea of how many members of our profession the referral service has assisted, and for CDSPI and other dental organizations to publish articles and post videos about mental health issues affecting practitioners as well as patients and someday I hope that we will be able to talk about mental health issues affecting members of our profession more openly without shame in all the real and virtual places where dentists gather and can give each other support.

    Reply
    1. CDSPI January 11, 2019

      Hi Lesia,
      Thanks for raising awareness of the CDSPI Members’ Assistance Program (MAP) and the valuable resources it offers the dental community and their families. Your request for more information is timely, as CDSPI and the CDA are collaborating on a piece that will shed light on this topic. We’ll share it with you in the next few weeks. For anyone seeking support, please access MAP, https://www.cdspi.com/community/#map for confidential, no-cost support available 24/7/365.

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