|Year : 2020 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 85-86
Mental Health of Dental Professionals during COVID-19 Pandemic
Sonali Vijay Deshmukh
Department of Orthodontics, Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra, India
|Date of Submission||20-Nov-2020|
|Date of Acceptance||20-Nov-2020|
|Date of Web Publication||14-Dec-2020|
Sonali Vijay Deshmukh
Department of Orthodontics, Dr. D. Y. Patil Dental College and Hospital, Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune, Maharashtra
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Deshmukh SV. Mental Health of Dental Professionals during COVID-19 Pandemic. J Int Clin Dent Res Organ 2020;12:85-6
The COVID-19 pandemic since its start, almost 11 months back has practically paralyzed all of us in some or the other ways. The initial lockdown period was a self-discovering period, in the form of creativity, cooking, painting, and family bonding. As the time progressed into 60 days of lockdown the reality started to sunk in, in regards to work, finances, employability, and sustenance in general.
Dental professionals were the worst hit among other profession because of negative feeds created on electronic media. Many dentists were managing patients on emergency basis only. The COVID-19 epidemic adversely affected dentists’ activity. Routine dental operations were halted due to the possibility of cross-infection during dental treatment. In addition, oral mucosa has been identified as an infection entry route which restricts dental activities to treat essential and emergency procedures to mitigate drop or spray output. In contrast, dental firms and businesses have agreed to terminate some of their staff. Dentists felt a moral responsibility to minimize daily work to prevent spreading the disease among their families and patients. Even so, they are also deeply worried about the financial ramifications of a lockdown. This created a lot of stress of contracting virus and spreading it to the family members. Apart from the stress of contracting COVID-19 virus, the ultimate stress was of sustenance of individual practices with increase cost of added equipment and heightened measures needed for disinfection protocols. Wearing personal protective equipment, double face mask, face shield, double gloves, and shoe cover made all of us feel as if we are on mission Mars.
Multiple factors including death of known people, family members, or those who got infected and were in isolation, created lot of stress among dentist as well as those who are in academics. The COVID-19 pandemic was a stress inducer for dental academics, with approximately 10% having severe COVID-19-related traumatic stress. The main sources of stress were fear of contracting infection, restricted mobility due to the lockdown enforced in most countries to control the spread of the pandemic and worries because of professional responsibilities related to teaching and research. Measures taken by individuals to contain the infection included avoidance of crowded places and washing hands more frequently. A dose-dependent relationship existed between severity of stresses and worries related to fear of infection, teaching, and research responsibilities and restricted mobility. A direct, dose-dependent relationship also existed between stress levels and change in behaviors due to the pandemic.
This pandemic created three types of people. One who is extremely scared and cautious, second who is scare but ready to fight back, and third one who was least bothered and was not following any precautions led down by Government. “Coronophobia” is the term used to describe extreme fear psychosis leading to stress, anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic disorders. Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. Literature search regarding mental health of dental professionals during COVID-19 pandemic revealed what causes stress or mental issue, but there is sparse literature which gives insight about how to manage the stress related issues. India as an emerging country still lack in acknowledging the mental health as a priority because it still is a topic not to be discussed socially. University Grants Commission Guidelines for reopening of universities and colleges gives the insight about counseling and guidance for mental health and categorically acknowledges the need of an hour. We as a Dental fraternity should come together to identify the mental health issues amongst all of us and should try to create an awareness and sense of support to those less fortunate. As we all know that this COVID-19 threat is not going to go away anytime soon, we have to learn and adapt to this new friend of ours. This is the time of minimalistic living, keeping faith, introspecting, finding our strengths and weaknesses, being with family, working on our minds by Yoga and meditation, doing adequate physical exercise, thus keeping our immunity high and most important keeping positive attitude.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
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