Mental Health Care in Dentistry: A Trauma Informed Approach to Suicide Prevention
Course Number: 645
Speaker - Lara: Hi, everybody. I hope everyone can hear me okay. Welcome to today's discussion on mental health in dentistry. As she mentioned, my name is Lara Mekhitarian and I am a trauma specialist here in Southern California. When I was approached to discuss the topic of suicide within the world of dentistry and medicine, I knew now more than ever we need to have a conversation about the impacts of trauma and how that plays a role in the development of depression, which can lead to suicide if left untreated. Just in November 2011, there was an article from the Journal of Affective Disorders that found the risk of suicide is increased among health professionals and dentists are held in the highest suicide rate at 7.18% for men and women combined. The national average for men and women was reported as 0.42%. Male dentists especially hold the highest suicide rate at 8.02%. Female dentists hold the fourth highest suicide rate at 5.28%.
Likewise, this continues with physicians, pharmacists, nurses, hygienists. And I know that considering that we are now going through a global pandemic where we've been in our homes, some have lost jobs, some have had to close down practices, some have gotten ill, they've lost family members. And especially recently, especially within this country, given the tragic events that have occurred in the last few weeks and all the protests, we're all going through a form of trauma in one capacity or another. The truth is, safety is not a guarantee anymore. And when COVID and the stay at home order started, life turned upside down for all people in one capacity or another. As professionals, business owners, employees, family members, friends, colleagues we faced a reality that no one is exempt from. And the trauma being experienced in this time right now is very challenging and very difficult.