In a project to explore the social, work and mental health effects experienced by dental professionals in Australia, and to examine factors that promote good mental health and risk factors that contribute to poorer mental health, eviDent Foundation investigators have embarked on a project ‘Stress and burnout amongst Australian dental practitioners’. As part of this they are asking practitioners to complete an online questionnaire.
The dental profession has long been regarded as having high levels of professional stress and burnout, however the mental health of Australian dentists has been studied sporadically over the past few decades.
The past 18 months, in particular, has placed significant pressure on dental practitioners who have had to work with the uncertainty of an airborne virus in a work environment that routinely generates aerosols, with an expected increased risk of transmission of COVID-19.
At various times, dental services have been restricted by governments, contributing to increased stress for dental practitioners working in the private sector whose livelihood has been disrupted, and moral stress for all practitioners who have been unable to provide necessary health care for their patients.
Stress and burnout symptoms are likely to affect the quality of care that dental practitioners provide and may prevent practitioners from working at all.
A team at eviDent Foundation wants to hear from Australian dental practitioners about burnout, perfectionism, general health, psychological distress, alcohol and recreational drug usage; resilience, depression and suicide; and relaxing and staying healthy. To this end, those who are currently practising in Australia are invited to complete a fully anonymised electronic questionnaire.
It is anticipated this project will provide a better understanding of the prevalence and impact of stress and burnout in the dental profession that will be used to help develop and target support programs for dental professionals.