A recent study published by Hennein and colleagues in the Journal PLOS ONE found that healthcare workers are suffering from mental health problems including alcohol use disorder during the pandemic. A Yale School of Public Health survey of thousands of health workers had previously suggested worrying rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder amid a worsening pandemic. It painted a dark picture of life in the middle of the public health crisis. Healthcare workers shared their frustrations about an ineffective federal government, medical skepticism, and the separation from family and friends for weeks at a time. But while the older study study captured a descriptive side of the early COVID-19 response, this newly published study provides statistically significant context.
This new study found:
- Nearly a quarter of all healthcare workers showed signs of probable PTSD.
- Almost half of all healthcare workers had probable alcohol use disorder.
Predictive factors of mental health issues and alcohol use disorder among healthcare workers included,
- Perceived lack of social support;
- Women healthcare workers suffered more from PTSD;
- Healthcare workers whose teams had lower cohesion were more likely to have PTSD; and
- Probable general anxiety disorder was more common among those who had decreased satisfaction with the federal government.
Hennein says the solution is finding ways to offer support to healthcare workers who have to be in isolation because of the pandemic.
… we really need to be creative with ways that we’re able to nurture social support and social well-being among health care workers right now,” said Rachel Hennein, first author of the study and M.D./Ph.D. student at the Yale schools of medicine and public health, as per Yale School of Public Health.Rachel Hennein, first author of the study, M.D./Ph.D. student, Yale schools of medicine and public health
Hennein’s team has conducted another study recently, which will provide an update on the situation of healthcare workers since the 2020 elections and subsequent uptick in national unrest and COVID-19 deaths.
While Hennein’s team is still analyzing the results, the vaccine production news is supposed to have had a positive impact. However, it’s clear that managing a public health crisis for over 12 months is having a toll on all healthcare workers. They are even more burnt out with the second and third waves of the pandemic.
It sheds light on how much we all need to be contributing to the end of COVID-19,” said Ms. Hennein, as per Yale School of Public Health.
It’s not just on the health care workers. It’s on the general public to wear masks, to physically distance. Otherwise, it really all falls on them.”Rachel Hennein, first author of the study, M.D./Ph.D. student, Yale schools of medicine and public health