During the first wave of COVID-19 mental health problems quadrupled amongst medical staff according to a survey by Mental Health America (MHA) which is one of the foremost mental health assistance providers. 

The MHA president, Paul Gionfriddo in a press release said “We continue to see staggering numbers that indicate increased rates of depression and anxiety because of COVID-19,”

In addition, a Roehampton University report conducted in the British Journal of Psychiatry open stated that after surveying 2,773 health staff, nurses had poorer and higher psychiatric conditions as a comparison to physicians.

Pressure to function with no appropriate cover and no Personal Protective Equipment, as well as inadequate preparation for the pandemic and insufficient coordination about Covid-19 and training for such a large scale, all led to elevated levels of mental health symptoms amongst health workers. 

Making use of requests made to MHA’s online in January as a starting point, it was found out that requests went up slightly from January to April then skyrocketed from May to June. 

For example, in July anxiety screenings were 406% higher than that of January, while depression screenings were 457% higher. 

In May, the percentage of people who were diagnosed to be at risk for psychosis went higher when the self-isolation and lockdown began, and it went in June to 4 times the number in January. Also, for those who were considering self-harm or suicide was a six-fold increase during this period. 

A higher number of frontline health workers when compared with non-frontline workers reported a high level of depression (31% versus 25%), stress (21% versus 15%), and anxiety (39% versus 27%). 

Furthermore, being single led to the rise of psychiatric illnesses, when a survey found that 37% of people who were single had severe depressive symptoms, compared to 26% of those in a relationship or married.

A key point of the study on the MHA report is that the social consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic aren’t about the threats of death or sickness that causes stress in healthcare workers is the isolation and loneliness that is the main causes of anxiety and depression followed by past trauma or relationship problems because it was identified that half of the people who were seeking help were girls/women. 

What have your experience been as a health care worker? Let's hear from you below!




May 12, 2023

Natasha Osei

Passionate Nurse Practitioner | People person
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