Leaders Encourage Dentists to Check on Each Other

by Billy Tarpley on March 24, 2020


These are indeed times of uncertainty and worry. Lack of control is perhaps the greatest instigator of fear that exists. While for most, it is easy to step back and take a big-picture view and know that all will be OK, there are those among us that find this ability hard if not impossible. It is time for all of us, dental community and human community, to start watching out for each other in a different way.

Despair can easily be an initiator of depression. The weather is not helping anyone in Arkansas right now, contributing to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Networking and conversation can help. Obviously, the old days of meeting for coffee or lunch to talk is gone for a while. Phones and Email still work. FaceTime still works. The weather is forecast to improve.

We suggest that this is a wonderful time to talk to friends, both those you see often and those you haven’t had contact with in years. Knowing others are in the same boat helps. More importantly, seeing red flags in others may help in steering them toward help.

If you recognize sudden changes in a friend such as: speaking in an unduly dark tone, showing a sense of hopelessness, ruminating about the past, attempting to withdraw from family or others, giving away items, or appearing to be “making arrangements”, talk bluntly to them. Ask them if they have had thoughts of harming themselves. People are afraid to do this, but sometimes it has to be done! Encourage them to reach out to the mental health community or get help to them yourself. Tele-”help” is certainly happening right now. You may well change a person’s life course.

America had been through much worse. In fact anyone who has practiced long enough can remember when there was wide spread belief that HIV could be spread by mosquitos and by dental offices. That was devastating to many offices. Yet, now it is but a blur in our memories. The terror attacks of 9-11 apply here too.

Together, we will indeed pull through this. The ASDA is working constantly to find resources for us. The Board is working constantly with the Department of Health to get us fully back to work when it is safe. We are indeed in this together.

Pierce Osborne DDS
AR State Dental Association

Fred Church DDS
AR State Board of Dental Examiners

PS: Please note:          
• National Suicide Hotline number is 800-273-8255
• AR Medical Foundation, Physician’s Health Committee 501-224-9911



Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: