Half of public health workers experiencing mental health strain: study
More than half of public health workers reported experiencing symptoms of mental health conditions, according to a new study, a toll that disproportionately falls on those who spent most of their time treating patients suffering from COVID-19.
The study, to be published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, found nearly a third of the 26,000 health care workers polled suffered from symptoms of depression in the last two weeks. Three in 10 reported suffering from anxiety, and more than a third say they have experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Eight percent, or about one in twelve, told researchers they experienced suicidal ideation.
All of the mental health conditions were more prevalent among public health workers under the age of 29, among those who worked more than 60 hours per week and among those who reported they were unable to take time off work.
The symptoms were particularly pronounced among those who spent most of their time in COVID-19 wards. Among public health workers who spent three-quarters of their time responding to the pandemic, nearly half reported symptoms of PTSD within the last two weeks alone and more than a third reported signs of depression and anxiety.