The ADA is continuing to recruit a cohort of dentists to volunteer to serve on a new initiative called the Wellness Ambassador Program, in which volunteers will ensure that peer dentists struggling with mental health obstacles are aware of support services.
While the volunteer dentist will not provide the support a clinical professional would offer, the volunteers serve as entry points to facilitate connections with clinical professionals and other resources.
Princy Rekhi, D.D.S., chair of the ADA’s Dental Wellness Advisory Committee, said that the 2021 Dentist Well-Being Survey Report, commissioned by the ADA Council on Dental Practice, was eye-opening in that it revealed that the percent of dentists diagnosed with anxiety more than tripled in 2021 compared with 2003.
“Results from the 2021 survey indicated that dentists continue to be burdened with mental and emotional health concerns,” Dr. Rekhi said. “The survey’s results demanded immediate attention and action, and the ADA wants dentists, their teams and families to readily find counsel and compassion. There is a sense of urgency in the message that mental health is an ongoing process deserving of sustenance, so assembling a team of wellness ambassadors is one way the ADA can continue to cultivate a helpful lifeline.”
The responsibilities of the ambassadors will include:
For additional information, contact Felicia Bloom, manager of elder care and dentist health and wellness for the ADA’s Center for Dental Practice Policy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.