High occurrence of psychological distress among healthcare personnel during pandemic: study

Press Release 11:44 AM, 1 Dec, 2021
High occurrence of psychological distress among healthcare personnel during pandemic: study

WOLLONGONG, Australia: According to the study from the University of Wollongong (WOU), St George and Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute (IHMRI), doctors were more likely to experience depression, whereas nurses were more vulnerable to experience elevated levels of anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

The researchers found that depression was widespread among doctors, while nurses undergo high levels of anxiety. The prevalence of depression among doctors was 40.4 per cent, with 17 per cent and 19.8 per cent reporting symptoms of anxiety. The prevalence of depression, though, was lower among nurses than doctors but still high at 28 per cent. At the same time, nurses were more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety than doctors were, with the prevalence of anxiety among nurses between 22.8 per cent and 27 per cent.

The study reviewed the research conducted worldwide and analysed data from 10 systematic reviews and 100 unique studies, which included 169,157 healthcare workers from 35 countries. The results suggest that strategies to reduce the incidence of anxiety and depression among frontline healthcare workers are urgently required.

The study’s results highlighted the need for nurses and doctors to be provided with urgent support to assist them with coping during working in high-stress environments, especially during disaster conditions.

Researchers emphasised nurses and doctors underwent many stumbling blocks in accessing personal protective equipment, which results in added job stress due to increased work demands and lack of effective treatment.

Investigators further asserted that frontline health workers were witnessing a decline in their own immunity as a result of physical and mental exhaustion.

They offered some strategies to support frontline healthcare workers. 

According to investigators, if institutions take care of the children of the healthcare workers, offering free parking, nutritional meals and coffee and aggrandising their monetary benefits would be advantageous for alleviating their stress levels. Further, psychological support services should be available for them. 

The research 'Anxiety and depression among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: a systematic umbrella review of the global evidence' was published in BMJ Open. 



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