Current statistics and societal trends show an increase in Mental Illness in the United States. This means our patients, friends, colleagues, current employees, and potential new employees are all struggling, and maybe we are, too. 

By having a proactive plan and being prepared to handle mental health conversations, you and your team will be more confident and will give a unique experience with exceptional whole health care at your office.

At Dental Hub 360, we want the best for you and your team. That’s why, this week, we’re sharing four ways to be proactive about mental illness in your practice, based on the talk by Amy L’ecuyer in our learning center. 

1. Create a safe place to be open about mental and emotional health.

One of the best ways to help is to make people feel comfortable being open about mental illness and emotional health.  The first step to helping someone is to listen. Talking about your mental health can seem awkward at first, especially among co-workers.  That feeling of discomfort can make people feel they can’t reach out for help. 

Creating an open-minded practice where everyone feels comfortable enough to talk about their mental health is very important. 

2. Look for signs.

1 in 5 adults and 1 in 6 youth in the U.S. are diagnosed with mental illness. Suicide is the second leading cause of death from ages 10-34 years old. People with depression have reported it affected their work life, activites, and relationships.

Now imagine one of your patients is rescheduling an appointment with you. They’re giving off signs that they are unsure of the future, but schedule anyways. This patient could be suffering from mental illness, and struggles get out of bed due to the crippling effects. Their reluctance to schedule their treatment might be because of underlying mental health struggles. 

Review your patients’ medical histories to learn more about each patient. Look for signs that patients with histories of mental health struggles are suffering. That will help you be more proactive to care for those who are struggling with understanding.

3. Offer tools and resources as part of your employment benefits.

Dental practices are unique; we interact with people across all different ages and education levels. This means we are at the forefront for building a community around mental wellness.

Make mental health resources open and available to staff and patients. Provide contact information for hotlines, clinics, and mental health care facilities around your practice so it is readily available to all. 

Promote practicing self-care as well. Lead by example. Offer paid mental wellness days or hold mental health fairs for staff. Show your team their well-being is important to you, and you’ll create deeper relationships that will help them be even more open.

4. Create a proactive crisis plan.

Talk with a professional about how you can put together a simple plan to support someone going through crises. Train your staff about the plan so everyone can help. 

You could even provide your staff with QPR suicide prevention training. Educating your team on mental illness is vital in creating a safe practice. Communicate with both your team members and your patients when you notice something. Don’t be afraid to offer help when you feel someone is in need. 

Does your practice have a proactive mental illness plan?

Mental health is important to everyone in our practices. These four steps can help you get started. If you want to learn more about creating a crisis plan, check out Amy’s talk here.  

Also don’t forget to connect with thousands of other dental professionals around the world by joining the Trapped in an OP and Dental Hub 360 Facebook groups today.