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A Tale of Two Hygienists Podcast

Jul 24, 2019

A Tale of Two Hygienists continues its series on dental-adjacent issues that can impact ourselves and our patients. This week, Andrew and Michelle have invited someone on the show, who has professional and personal experience with dealing with suicidal thoughts, and who can provide everyone in our industry with valuable knowledge that can save lives.

Randi Jensen is a counsellor and educator specializing in suicidality—suicidal thoughts, suicidal planning, and the harmful act itself. Drawing from her own experience with traumatic and suicidal thoughts, she is the author of Just Because You’re Suicidal Doesn’t Mean You’re Crazy: The Psychobiology of Suicide and teaches suicide prevention courses at Cascadia Training in Seattle.

In this episode, Randi discusses her own struggles with depression and suicidal ideation, explains how dentists and dental hygienists get to know their patients better than some other professionals, and suggests ways you can reach out to troubled patients.


Interview starts: 6:39

- How Randi dealt with darker thoughts during the more turbulent times in her life and came to realize she could help others as well.

- The unique relationship dental professionals have with their patients that other medical specialists may not.

- How a dentist’s sympathy turned things around for one of Randi’s patients.

- Why a resistance to flossing and other methods of tooth maintenance may indicate troubling thoughts in a patient.

- Defining “suicidality” and the three different types of suicide. 

- What signs and symptoms of suicidality dental hygienists can look for when treating patients.

- Looking at the epidemic of suicide among the native American population and the “conspiracy of denial.”

- What you should NOT say to a suicidal patient and why it’s important to catch up with those who’ve previously expressed those thoughts.

- How many suicidal people adeptly hide their feelings and symptoms from public eye.

- The little ways you can reach out to and comfort patients who have lost loved ones to suicide.

- Why our approach to treating suicidal individuals needs to change and sooner rather than later.



“I’ve had several careers in my life and the current career is probably my mission for the rest of my life.” 

“You probably have more of a span of time with these individuals than anybody! 

“You have the input from people that other health care providers don’t really have!”

“Once you share your empathy and your compassion, you can’t say the wrong thing after that.”

“Compassion can’t make things worse.” 

“You just need somebody who cares enough to say ‘I care and I don’t want you to do this’.”


Jensen Suicide Prevention Peer Protocol -


Thank you to Paradise Dental Technologies aka PDT for providing sponsorship for this episodes CE credits!

THIS EPISODE COUNTS FOR CE! - but read the disclaimer below as it might not count for your state.

Go here to take the test and get your CE Credit! 

Approved Pace Program Provider FAGD/MAGD Credit Approval Does Not Imply Acceptance By A State Or Provincial Board of Dentistry Or AGD Endorsement. 1/1/18- 12/31/19 Provider #373236

Be sure to thank the sponsor for CE for this episode by heading over to and picking up a new instrument or telling them thank you in person at one of the conferences!

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