ADA leads efforts to end licensing stigma around mental health treatment

The American Dental Association is creating a pilot program to help develop licensing legislation to support dentists with mental health problems.

The program will be designed to assist states to prevent discrimination against dentists who have received counseling, therapy or treatment for mental, behavioral or physical health issues, according to a Feb. 28 news release from the ADA. 

In 2023, the Texas and Virginia state dental boards altered the language on both their initial and renewal dental license regarding treatment for mental health conditions. For example, Texas removed "have you ever" questions related to treatment for depression or substance abuse disorder and instead asks for an attestation of current ability to practice. 

The North Dakota Dental Association is also partnering with the state dental boards of examiners to change language to allow dentists to participate in physician assistance programs. 

The ADA is creating a pilot program and toolkit with resources for state dental associations to utilize during advocacy efforts, the release said.

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