Let’s Start a Conversation about MENTAL HEALTH!

05/27/2022 | Mental Health

By Sarah Leath, DentalCare Solutions

depressed nurse

Do you avoid this topic? Are you really smiling or is it a fake smile so no one will really know your true feelings?

Do you “leave it at the door” and smile because this is a place of work and we have patients to cater to. Sound familiar? Have you adorned a fake smile because of this?

Studies have shown

  • Female suicide has increased in the ages of 10-24.
  • 12.2 million seriously thought about suicide.*
  • 3.2 million made a plan for suicide.*
  • 1.2 million attempted suicide.*
  • 1 death every 11 minutes by suicide.*

Mental health does not discriminate. It does not care about your race or religion, if you’re the CEO or unemployed, whether you live in a mansion or live on the streets. It will touch you if you are rich or poor, male or female, young or old.

In 2017, my eyes were opened to mental illness. I was at an AAOMS meeting and couldn’t sleep. I watched a show about Kevin Hines who tried to commit suicide by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. He Survived! When I went home from the meeting, I looked at my 17 year old son and asked if he ever thought of suicide. His answer was yes. (My son is doing very well now.)

It was through our battle with his mental health crisis that my eyes were truly opened to our healthcare system, the resources available or lack thereof, the struggle to get help, and the stigma that follows. The looks we would get and how we were treated was surprising to me. Then I realized: I use to do that! Why? Because I was not well educated on mental health.

Through education and open discussions, I believe the dental community can help not only our loved ones, but our patients too.
We need to

  1. Stop being afraid to ask someone a question about their mental health—you will not cause them harm by letting them know you’re concerned about them.
  2. Start looking for signs with our patients
    • Personal or dental hygiene has decreased significantly since last visit
    • Wearing long sleeves and it’s 90 degrees out
    • Has cuts on their body
    • Uses certain words/phrases about finality (death, dying, doesn’t like life)
  3. Start looking for signs with family/friends
    • No longer enjoys work
    • Worries a lot
    • Withdrawal from friends
    • Extreme mood swings
    • Poor eating/sleeping habits
    • Increased alcohol consumption

So I challenge each of you who reads this article to be more aware of signs and start a conversation with your family, friends, doctor, team, and your patients. Showing you care can make all the difference to someone.

Additional resources: NAMI, Suicide LifeLine, 800-273-TALK.
*statistics from CDC

DentalCare Solutionss (DCS) was founded by Sarah Leath of Indianapolis, IN. A graduate from Indiana University, Sarah has been impacting Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery practices since 2006. DCS prides itself on bringing dental practice management solutions, marketing expertise and the “technology edge” to oral surgery practices throughout the country.

Sarah started Dentalcare Solutions, formerly Right Eye Consulting, because she felt there was a void for the oral surgery practice in regards to training. There are many doctors, surgeons, and other dental consultants but very few had the daily hands-on experience of working in an oral surgery office and performing daily tasks.

Sarah has over 30 years experience in dentistry with the majority of that being oral and maxillofacial surgery offices. Known as the EMR Guru, Sarah began perfecting her work with electronic medical records in 2002. From 2006 to date, Sarah has been transitioning offices to EMR, providing team retreats, practice management solutions, and training team members on a variety of topics such as OSHA guidelines, best practices for revenue cycle management, and creating an efficient workflows in the office.

Outside of her prestigious work in the dental field, Sarah is a member of the National Association of Professional Women, Speaking Empire, and Successful Women Made Here. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Sarah is a true Indiana Hoosier at heart. She loves IU basketball, the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers, AND she couldn’t be a true Hooiser without being a fan of the Indianapolis 500.