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Issues & People

Breaking Barriers: Ensuring Canadian Dentists are Comfortable with Mental Illness

Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague. By age 40, about 50% of the population will have or have had a mental illness. That’s us and our patients. Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses present a serious barrier not only to diagnosis and treatment, but also to acceptance in the community. Here’s a quote from a recently published story in the Globe and Mail newspaper: “You should see the look on people’s faces when they hear that you have an illness with schizo in the title. People are repelled and afraid. The assumptions are rapid and severe.” How many health care providers feel this fear and experience that repulsion when a patient reveals that they have a mental illness? Well, by setting up a rotation for dental students at the Center for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, CAMH, the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry is working to reduce such fears and ensure that tomorrow’s dentist won’t attach negative labels to patients living with a mental illness.

To learn about this rotation Dr. John O’Keefe spoke with Dr Joel Ross Rosenbloom, faculty member at the University of Toronto and practicing dentist at CAMH. Dr. O’Keefe also spoke with a recent graduate of the Faculty of Dentistry at U Of T, Dr. Bomee Kim to learn about her own experience going through the CAMH rotation. 

We would like to hear from you and know your thoughts and questions about this topic. If you wish to reach us, it’s quite easy: email us at oasisdiscussions@cda-adc.ca or call our toll-free number 1-855-716-2747.

Until next time!

Chiraz Guessaier, CDA Oasis Manager


In an effort to develop and to expand its community outreach programs at the municipal, provincial and international levels, the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Toronto provides offsite outreach programs. These serve a dual purpose: they provide care to populations that would otherwise have difficulty or be unable to receive the care that they require; and they provide unique educational opportunities for students that would not be possible within the Faculty facility.

Read/download the transcript of the interview (PDF)

Oasis Moment (1.57″)

Full Conversation (12.29″)



1 Comment

  1. Anthony Nadolski September 19, 2018

    The big problem for patients is the drug induced Xerostomia leading to multiple cavities. Unfortunately the patients aren’t being educated about this side effect and the weight gain by the prescibing physician


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