The College of General Dentistry and The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK (FGDP) are supporting a new initiative encouraging all dental workplaces to appoint mental health leads.

They are among over 20 organisations endorsing the Mental Health Wellness in Dentistry Framework and Call to Action, which have been established to encourage dental employers to make ‘mental health wellness’ a priority.

The organisations are calling for all members of the dental team to undertake training in stress awareness, and for every workplace to have a trained individual to encourage and lead discussion around the mental health wellness, to design a workplace action plan based on early intervention and safe signposting, and to act as a Mental Health First Aider – someone able to respond in a timely, appropriate and safe manner to potential mental health wellness issues.

Fiona Ellwood BEM FFGDP(UK) (Hon.), Chair of the Mental Health Wellness in Dentistry steering group, said:

“We want to deliver real change in the dental workplace through a plan of practical advice and action. We will work with partners to provide leadership, support, and direction on joint work. We will work with employers, local teams and professional partners in UK to oversee implementation of the framework. Fundamentally, we want to see a Mental Health Wellness Lead in every practice and place of dental employment across the UK.”

Roz McMullan, co-founder of the new group and former President of the BDA, added:

“No one should feel alone or unable to talk to someone at work and for this very reason, this ‘Call to Action’ asks decision makers and line managers to adopt this cultural change to Mental Health Wellness in the dental workplace and commit to the recognised training pathway.”

Ian Mills, Dean of FGDP, and Nairn Wilson, Honorary Founding President of CGDent, who are leading their organisations’ support for the work, said:

“The FGDP and CGDent are fully committed to developing and supporting initiatives that promote the mental health of the dental team, while safeguarding the health and wellbeing of their employees. The Faculty and College believe that all dental healthcare professionals should work in a supportive, health promoting environment in which they feel safe, confident to apply their knowledge and skills, and able to fulfil their professional obligations to put the interests of patients first.”

The Faculty and College were also represented at a recent meeting of stakeholders by Janine Brooks MBE FFGDP(UK), co-founder of Dental Mentors UK, who was a speaker at last month’s Joint Faculties’ webinar on health, wellbeing and support for the profession and who recently wrote a blog on health and mental wellbeing for the FGDP website.

For further information about the Mental Health Wellness in Dentistry initiative, visit https://mhwd.org/.

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