Browse all articles
By Wesleyan

New mental health support groups for dentists

wesleyan foundation
3 min
Female dentist wearing scrubs standing in dental room with glasses around neck holding a tablet and smiling

Wesleyan Foundation collaborate with Doctors in Distress, focussing expertise towards supporting the acute need of all healthcare professionals working in dentistry.

Doctors in Distress aim to protect the mental health and stop suicide of all healthcare workers. They help those who are suffering from burnout and moral injury to prevent this from deteriorating to the point of needing further mental health intervention. As an independent charity, Doctors in Distress enable healthcare professionals across the UK to access practical emotional support in a safe and confidential space, away from work.

Last year’s report by Dentistry revealed almost a quarter of respondents (23%) sought help for their mental health, and concerningly 14% having contemplated suicide. 68% of respondents felt their professional and personal relationships had suffered due to work-related stress, and 77% were forced to practice “defensive dentistry” - a response to feeling overwhelmed by the perceived and real threats of litigation and regulation*.

The General Dental Council’s 2021 report** showed the 6 key stressors for dentistry professionals over the past 14 years as:

  • Running a business
  • Clinical situations
  • COVID-19 pandemic
  • Societal and person-led stressors
  • Regulation and litigation
  • Poor working environment

Ann Paul, Doctors in Distress CEO comments: "No one should have to go into work every day immediately on the defensive, where it is the norm to feel under threat. The impact on not just dentists’ personal mental health but on their work and the wellbeing of those around them is damaging, as shown in these reports. There needs to be professional and cultural shift to support the mental health across the profession and to stop suicide.

"That is why Doctors in Distress has developed this initial creative support programme for all working in the dentistry profession. To ensure you have another avenue in which to turn and express yourselves and explore the restorative and reflective impact creativity has on mental health. Participants will also build a safe community of support, as well as learning a fantastic new skill.

"It is our understanding that dentists have not being offered similar reflection through creativity groups. We know the transformative impact of this first-hand from our extensive experience running programmes for doctors and nurses with creative experts from, for example, The Royal Literacy Fund and The Royal Photographic Society. We wish to provide similar groups for dentists and will endeavour to find the creative medium most likely to create the reflective environment to be most supportive."

Nathan Wallis, Chief of Staff at Wesleyan, said: "Many of our customers are dentists and we know that they are under huge pressures right now. The high levels of occupational stress felt by dentists can impact work, careers and family life and lead to an increased risk of burnout and emotional exhaustion.

"As a mutual, our promise is to provide specialist financial advice, support and help to give our customers the peace of mind they deserve. Doctors in Distress will be providing invaluable help for dentists supporting their mental health and we’re incredibly proud to be able to support them through our Wesleyan Foundation." 

Reflective Spaces Restorative Creativity Groups

Two 4-week sessions in the first half of the year (May-June) and repeat this in the second half of the year (September-October):

Dentists Summer Creativity Programme 1

  • Start date: Monday 22nd May 2023
  • End date: Monday 19th June 2023
  • Frequency: Weekly, Mondays at 12.30-1.30pm

All groups will be conducted online in a confidential safe space with a qualified facilitator.

To express your interest in joining or if you have any queries, please email Doctors in Distress.



** General Dental Council (Mental Health and Wellbeing in Dentistry: A Rapid Evidence Assessment)

You might be interested in...

Wesleyan Foundation

Since its launch in 2017, the Wesleyan Foundation has donated to countless charities, community groups and social enterprises - benefitting thousands of people across the UK.

Wesleyan Foundation donates £25k to Doctors in Distress

Wesleyan Foundation’s £25,000 donation to Doctors in Distress will launch weekly support groups for medical professionals.