The ongoing pandemic has effected everyone’s mental health – healthcare workers in particular.
A large proportion of those working on the frontlines of the pandemic for the past year have said they’ve experienced anxiety, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
New research has found that more the one in five healthcare workers across the globe have experienced these mental health conditions over the past 12 months.
Researchers analysed 65 studies across 21 countries that included over 97,000 people for the global study, and broke down the numbers by region, CNN reports.
It was found that healthcare workers in the Middle East have experienced the worst mental health as a result of the pandemic, with 28.9% having experienced anxiety, while 34.6% experienced depression.
Nathaniel Scherer, research assistant at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and co-lead author of the systematic review and meta-analysis, said, ‘Previous evidence has shown that these experiences can lead to stress, fatigue and burnout, which can increase the risk of common mental disorders.’
‘The Middle-East experienced a high number of patients with COVID-19, and it may be that this caseload put additional strain on healthcare professionals,’ he added.
The research, which was published yesterday, March 10, on PLOS One, stated that North America showed the lowest levels of healthcare workers to have suffered mental health issues as a result of the pandemic. However, Scherer noted there was more data available for the Middle East (seven studies), compared to only two studies for North America, so the data should be interpreted cautiously.
In regards to PTSD, researchers found that 21.5% of health care workers across all regions studied by them had experienced moderate levels of PTSD. This estimate came from the average of results from nine of the 65 studies.
It’s always struck me that even within the medical community, there is still a stigma about seeking therapy, seeking mental health support. Yet it’s so important, maybe never more important, than it is right now.
While it may be difficult for healthcare workers to reach out for support, there is help out there specifically for those working in the medical profession, such as Doctors in Distress.
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone.