Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, UK Researchers Urge Focus on ICU Staff Mental Health

January 19, 2021 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under COVID-19 for Employers, COVID-19 for the Workforce, Engagement & Morale, Health and Wellness

Last modified January 20, 2021

According to this recent article from Fox News, a new study has found that 40% of about 700 medical workers in the U.K., caring for the most dire COVID patients, hit the threshold for developing post-traumatic stress disorder and other pressing mental health concerns. Researchers say this undoubtedly hinders the care they can give, at a time when patients need it most.

The team of researchers sent brief, anonymous surveys to intensive care workers in National Health Service hospitals across the U.K. with questions regarding mental health. Nearly half of the 709 respondents from nine hospitals met thresholds for either severe depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or issues related to alcohol. Alarmingly, one in seven respondents said they’d be better off dead, or frequently considered self-harm.

“Our results show a substantial burden of mental health symptoms being reported by ICU staff towards the end of the first wave in July 2020,” Prof. Neil Greenberg, lead author with King’s College London, said in a university release. “The severity of symptoms we identified are highly likely to impair some ICU staff’s ability to provide high-quality care as well as negatively impacting on their quality of life.”

The study also identified nurses in particular as reporting poor mental health, compared to doctors and other ICU health care workers.

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