Online mental help for dentists
Facebook group established to provide support for colleagues in crisis
A dentist from Glasgow has been instrumental in setting up an online dental forum aimed at helping dentists in mental health crisis.
Nicola McMillan, a Glasgow graduate who works as an associate in NHS general practice, was installed as the first administrator of the Facebook support group ‘Mental Dental – A Group For Dentists in Crisis’ by the founder, Welsh dentist Lauren Harrhy.
The group was created after Nicola and Lauren realised there were precious few places where dentists could easily find support if they were feeling stressed. Nicola revealed that she is aware of at least three dentists who have taken their own lives, one a victim of alcoholism. She had also heard of numerous dentists who had left the profession due to its pressures. She said: “I was speaking to Lauren about this and she said ‘I can’t do this anymore. I can’t watch our colleagues die or leave the profession due to stress or even suffer like this. We need to do something about it.’ So, she started Mental Dental and put me as the first administrator.”
In just two weeks, the group attracted more than 1,700 members, and at the time of writing there are now 2,100 members signed up. Nicola said: “The aim is basically to support dentists in their mental health but never to advise, because we are not in a position to advise. Just simply to support, provide reference or collate data on different places that can help dentists. Basically, we provide an ear to whinge at or a shoulder to cry on.”
Asked if she was surprised by the group’s success, she said: “I’m surprised by how quickly it grew; the word of mouth was quite impressive. But, I’m not surprised that there are this many dentists feeling this way. This is not a shock to me at all.”
To find out more about the group, search for ‘Mental Dental’ on Facebook.