Free Mental Health Resources for Dental Students

There is no shame in experiencing mental health pitfalls during dental school. In fact, it's not all that uncommon for dental students. According to a cross-sectional study published in the International Journal of Medical Education, of the 247 students surveyed, 56% reported feelings of depression and 67% reported feelings of anxiety. In another cross-sectional study in the UK, researchers revealed that of their surveyed students who were aware of feeling depressed or anxious, only 21% of them sought help. Let's remove the stigma and let's normalize talking about mental health struggles. Here are some resources both free and paid. 

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GRAD RESOURCES - Crisis Line

Free

"Confidential telephone counseling, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and information and referral services provided by specially-trained call-takers. Caring, professional staff and well-trained volunteers answer around the clock."

1.877.GRAD.HLP 

(1.877.472.3457)

Therapy Session

Your School's Counseling Center

Free

Most schools offer counseling in some shape or form. They will typically be included in your tuition but each school sets the number of sessions they provide. Some provide care by semester, others limit students to a number of sessions. The more restrictive schools will try their best to connect you with a better resource in the community for your situation. The counselors at school centers are typically finishing their training and are rotating through their clinical year, or the school may even have fully licensed professionals on staff.

 

Finding a counselor is a bit like dating. Counselors specialize in subjects in which they have the most training and each counselor has a different style. If you prefer someone that talks more or less, that's up to you! Look up their professional designation to learn more about their training.  Don't be afraid to try different styles. 

Google "your school's name, counseling center"

Psychologist Session
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APPS & Websites

Varies - Mostly Free 

Whether you want to try to approach your mental health on your own first or were recommended an exercise by your counselor. These apps are sure to fit in your toolbox. Click any of the links below to access the apps. 

SMART Recovery (Free): Suffering from substance abuse while in dental school? Chances are it may be linked to an underlying mental health issue. SMART hosts discrete online meetings + chatrooms. They are also not affiliated with any particular religion. 

Gratitude (Free or paid): Sometimes we need to slow down and enjoy the journey where we're at. This app provides daily positive affirmations, testimonials, and will prompt you for a short journal entry like: "write one thing that made you smile today." It may be cheesy but when you get the hang of it, you do start to appreciate more of the good in your life. The app also has vision boards. 

Headspace (Discount for students): Everything you need to either learn how to meditate or continue your meditation practices. You can also add friends and encourage each other to keep meditating by pinging them with a positive message. The student discount is only $9.99 a year!! 

Penzu (Free): Journaling is a POWERFUL tool. People often skip this because they're "not writers." The best part about journaling is that it's only for you to vent and share your struggles and successes. Just the best rant sesh, but private. 

Youtube (free): There are so many great motivational Ted Talks and counselors on Youtube where you may get some new tips and tricks to manage your situation.  

Podcasts (free): Have a commute or some time in the morning? Nothing like self-help podcasts to help you out. Go on the podcast app for iPhone or even Spotify to find a self-help podcast that works for you. 

Psychology Today Website

Paid

Psychology today is a great resource for those with insurance or the ability to pay out-of-pocket fees. You can filter by:

  • Qualifications: 

  • What the therapist specializes in

  • Price

  • Gender

  • Insurance

  • Age

  • Language

  • Faith

  • Sexuality 

  • Ethnicities served

Some even have short videos.

 

Worth a try if you can afford it.

 

If you can't, you can also google community sliding scale clinics for counselors in your area. There are counselors that will charge based on your income.

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