COVID-19 Resource Center
COVID-19 Resource Center
Source:

Mental Health America. The mental health of healthcare workers in COVID-19. https://mhanational.org/mental-health-healthcare-workers-covid-19. Accessed Dec. 4, 2020.

Disclosures: Reinert is an employee of Mental Health America.
December 08, 2020
2 min read
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Survey shows significant mental health burden on frontline care workers during pandemic

Source:

Mental Health America. The mental health of healthcare workers in COVID-19. https://mhanational.org/mental-health-healthcare-workers-covid-19. Accessed Dec. 4, 2020.

Disclosures: Reinert is an employee of Mental Health America.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected the mental health of frontline health care workers, according to survey results released by Mental Health America.

“With support from the Johnson & Johnson Foundation, we launched the Healthcare Worker survey both to understand the scope of the problem and to learn more about the needs of health care workers so that we could create better supports to address those needs,” Maddy Reinert, manager of population health at Mental Health America and lead researcher on the survey, told Healio Psychiatry. “This included a greater understanding of what health care workers were feeling, what their specific work- and home-related stressors were and whether they felt they were receiving the emotional support they needed.”

Between June and September, Reinert and colleagues conducted the online survey and received responses of 1,119 health care workers. Results showed 93% of health care workers reported experiencing stress, 86% reported experiencing anxiety, 77% reported frustration, 76% reported exhaustion and burnout and 75% reported feeling overwhelmed. Worries about exposing loved ones were also common, with 76% worried about exposing their child to COVID-19, nearly 50% worried about exposing their spouse or partner and 47% worried about exposing older adult family members.

The survey findings showed the following additional mental health effects:

  • Emotional exhaustion (82%);
  • trouble with sleep (70%);
  • physical exhaustion (68%);
  • feeling like emotional support was inadequate (39%); and
  • interference with parental responsibilities (50% among those with children).
Maddy Reinert
Maddy Reinert

These recent findings echoed results reported in October that showed more than 1.5 million people who took a screening provided by Mental Health America reported signs of anxiety and/or depression. In September, severity of these signs was highest since the start of the pandemic. Further, the number of anxiety screenings increased by 634% and depression screenings by 873% since January.

“While it is important that we recognize our health care workers as heroes, we also need to recognize that they’re people,” Reinert said. “Health care workers are incredibly resilient by nature of their field, but the stress, emotional and physical exhaustion, and grief that they’re exposed to does take a toll, and we need to move beyond applauding them as heroes to creating real supports to help them.”

Reinert noted that health care workers who are experiencing anxiety or depression can access a mental health screening and accompanying resources funded by the Johnson & Johnson Foundation at HMANational.org/frontline.