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Call before you crack: support available through a free, confidential helpline

Call before you crack: support available through a free, confidential helpline

Dentists often find it hard to ask for help, but support is available through a free, confidential helpline.

Dentists experience a considerable number of psychosocial job stresses, including high demanding jobs, long working hours, work–life balance, and the fear of making mistakes at work. Many dentists also have the added financial responsibility of owning a practice and managing a team. Numerous early career dentists also experience employment challenges, such as juggling two or more jobs with the added pressure of beginning a new career.

As well as being stressful, dentistry can also be an isolating profession. All of this can take a toll on a person’s mental health, which is why ADA NSW supports the Doctors’ Health Advisory Service NSW & ACT (DHAS). DHAS is an independent and confidential service offering advice over the telephone from qualified staff.

DHAS was founded in 1982 and assists doctors, dentists, veterinarians and students in all three professions.

‘This is an excellent service,’ says Adj Assoc Professor Jim Hawkins, who is the ADA NSW representative on the DHAS Management Committee. ‘We really want to raise awareness of the service among dentists so they know where to go if they are having a tough time. Talking through problems with an experienced social worker is the most important first step in dealing with issues,’ Professor Hawkins says.

How the service works
The helpline operates seven days a week and is open to practitioners, their families, staff or colleagues. Callers speak with either the Medical Director or an experienced social worker. Confidentiality is paramount. The caller will receive advice, which may include a recommendation to consult a specialist. The DHAS also takes calls from concerned colleagues. Note: This is an advisory helpline, not a treatment service.

Types of calls
  • Work-related stress and burnout
  • Alcohol misuse or other substance abuse and addiction
  • Clinical competence
  • Financial difficulties
  • Legal or ethical issues
  • Relationship problems
  • Physical impairment
  • Psychological disorders
ADA NSW supports the DHAS as it is a free, confidential and professional service run by highly experienced staff.

If you have any concerns about your physical or emotional wellbeing – or a colleague - call the DHAS helpline
on (02) 9437 6552. For more on the DHAS visit

The DHAS NSW is hosting a conference in Sydney from 14-16 September, Our Health Matters: Caring for Health Carers, which is proudly supported by ADA NSW. For details, visit