Mental health and wellness in Canadian dental schools: Findings from a national study


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Objectives To survey the mental health and wellbeing content in the curricula, services, and activities of the 10 Canadian dental schools, and to explore the specifics of this area in the Faculty of Dentistry (FoD) at The University of British Columbia (UBC). Methods An electronic survey consisted of four major categories: curricular activities and services, structural approaches, infrastructural approaches, and evaluation methods, was distributed to all Canadian dental schools. A situational analysis was conducted at UBC's FoD via document appraisal and key informants' exploratory interviews. Results Eight dental schools responded to the survey showing that didactic sessions being the pedagogical method to deliver resilience content. None of the responding schools reported formally evaluating their mental health content. Through situational analysis, a relational map that identified four major areas contributing to students' mental health at UBC's FoD was generated which includes four major aspects: (1) curricular content on mental health, (2) informal wellbeing and mental health networks, (3) protective, and (4) risk factors influencing students' mental health. Conclusions As this study described the mental health and wellbeing activities, services, and curricular content across multiple Canadian dental schools, the diverse approaches each school adopted and how personal and professional aspects of students' lives being attempted to be addressed are a critical starting point to engage educators in dentistry. The situational analysis outcome, where a detailed description of the mental health situation at UBC's FoD, can be used to guide in-depth studies of the area of wellbeing at other dental schools.
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Key words
dental curriculum, dental schools, mental health, self-care, situational analysis, wellbeing, wellness
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