Well-being Toolkit for Dental Professionals launched to coincide with World Mental Health Day

Today on World Mental Health Day (Monday 10th October 2022), Dr Mahrukh Khwaja, dentist and positive psychologist, together with Unilever’s oral care brand Zendium, launch a new, activity-based Wellbeing Toolkit to help address the mental health challenges within dentistry.

Dentistry is a high-stress profession with elevated rates of anxiety, depression, burnout, suicidal thoughts and self-harm.1,2 Unsurprisingly, the pandemic has magnified these negative feelings. In the recent Dentistry Census 2022, 68% of dental professionals felt that their relationships, both within the clinic and at home, suffered as a result of work-related stress, with over 30% of dental professionals saying they felt routinely depressed. Dentist and Positive Psychologist, Dr Mahrukh Khwaja, has been a leading light on this topic since her own experience with depression and burnout in 2016. “As dental professionals, we spend so much time caring for our patients, it can be easy to neglect ourselves. It wasn’t until I experienced my own well-being challenges, that I really appreciated the importance of becoming the architect of my own mental health, and I started using tools and activities that nourished, restored, and revived me.”

“There are evidence-based techniques that can be utilised to help dental professionals not only cope with stressors, but to move beyond baseline to optimal states, such as flourishing,” continues Dr Khwaja. Chief among these strategies is the PERMA-H model, which focuses on six components of well-being to help people feel happier, energised at work, connected to others, have a sense of purpose and accomplish goals aligned to their values. “Whilst these psychological tools on their own won’t solve the mental health crisis in dentistry, they will go a long way in prevention and help dental professionals develop the necessary skills of resilience and positive health.”

The oral care brand Zendium, from Unilever, champions a holistic approach to mouth health, and this translates to a similarly holistic view of how it can support the dental community. Together with Dr Khwaja, Zendium has created a practical, activity-based Wellbeing Toolkit for dental professionals, based on the PERMA-H model, which helps people nurture and boost their mental health. Monika Fleischhacker is Unilever’s Director of Oral Care Professional Marketing: “We know how important it is to support the dental community beyond oral care products themselves, and we know that the last two years in particular have been very challenging for all medical professionals. We’re hugely proud to have been able to work with Dr Khwaja to help address the mental health issues in dentistry in a very practical way.”

Dr Khwaja continues: “The Well-being Toolkit for Dental Professionals can be thought of as a self-intervention: your guide to help you integrate the different ingredients of well-being, and increase positive feelings, positive thoughts and positive actions in the process,” says Dr Khwaja.

To access the free toolkit, visit: https://www.zendium.co.uk/professional/resources.html/Zendium_Wellbeing_Toolkit_2022.pdf

  1. Kay, E.J., Lowe, J.C. (2008) A survey of stress levels, self-perceived health and health-related behaviours of UK dental practitioners in 2005. British Dental Journal, 204(11): E19-E19
  2. Toon, M., Collin, V., Whitehead, P. and Reynolds, L. 2019. An analysis of stress and burnout in UK general dental practitioners: sub dimensions and causes. British Dental Journal 226 , pp. 125-130.

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