The Dental Mental Network May be Your Trauma Oxygen Mask

In Embracing Coworkers, Health, Self-Help by Sandy Lee

Mental health issues are debilitating and far-reaching.

We all know patients, family, friends who’ve needed help dealing with something that was just a bit too much for them. And possibly a bit too much for you too.

It’s often expected for dental professionals to leave their issues at the door when coming to the office. What if that baggage simply can’t be unloaded? The Dental Mental Network has been created to help you before you help others, like the oxygen mask on a plane.

The concept seems counterintuitive because during our training we were pounded in the head with “The patient! The patient! The patient!!”.  So much so that we tend to stuff our burdens deeper and deeper inside ourselves and survive only to serve others. But this can be very damaging and exhausting both emotionally and physically.

There is some confusion surrounding the suicide rate among dental professionals, but despite what you can read on the CDC website or other resources, does that rate matter when it is YOUR co-worker that committed suicide? No, the ripple effect of that horrific and traumatizing event spans across not just you and your other co-workers, it seeps into the seams of your family unit and your ability to concentrate.  It is a trauma that affects all of us and you can’t just brush this off and go back to “normal”. 

What if it is you who’s contemplated ending it all so you can gain some variant of “relief”? What can you do to help safeguard yourself from falling into the bleak pit of hopelessness and the thought that suicide is the ONLY way out of that pit? Are you supposed to leave that at the door? That’s impossible. 

Dental Mental Network

The Dental Mental Network has been established for you, your co-workers, your boss, any dental professional to find resources, gain knowledge on self-improvement and preservation, as well as retreats that let you recharge and get back to square one. One huge mission of ours is to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, by removing that curtain of taboo, we allow ourselves to speak freely and eliminate the secrecy that so many suicides hide under. Remove the veil hiding the whispers of suicide and then you can talk openly about options that have a much greater impact on your wellbeing. Instead of creating a traumatic event, we can save someone else by sharing our stories, someone who thought they couldn’t tell a soul because no one would understand. Someone out there does understand and may even be able to help!  

Our website is a place where you can turn when you are feeling low or when you have a co-worker who has been acting differently lately and you aren’t sure what to do. Our Facebook Group “The Dental Mental Network: The Group” is a haven for you to vent, ask questions, and help others who need support.  Building relationships is also a side effect of getting involved in our group, you can meet those people you’ve forged new relationships with at our annual Dental Mental Summit. We offer well-rounded courses and other options for you to work on yourself and learn more about helping those around you. And yes, in turn, these things you learn can help your patient, but YOU are the reason we are here.

Find us on social media by searching “Dental Mental Network” and please visit our new website at

Anne Duffy recently spoke with Sandy Lee and Sue Jeffries on this topic.  You can link to that video HERE