Healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19 have a high risk of developing unfavourable mental health outcomes and may need psychological support or interventions, according to a report in JAMA Network Open.
A cross-sectional study of 1,257 Chinese healthcare workers from 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for COVID-19, participated in this anonymous survey. Main outcome measures were symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.
Demographic data revealed 76.7 per cent of respondents were women, 60.8 per cent nurses, 39.2 per cent physicians, 60.5 per cent worked in hospitals in Wuhan, and 41.5 per cent were front-line healthcare workers directly engaged in diagnosing, treating, or caring for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.
Depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress were reported in 50.4, 44.6, 34.0, and 71.5 per cent, respectively.
Nurses, women, front-line workers, and those working in Wuhan, reported more severe mental health symptoms than other healthcare workers.
Participants from outside Hubei province had a lower risk of experiencing symptoms of distress compared with those in Wuhan.
It should be noted that 81.2 per cent of participants were from Hubei. The study had a short duration (6 days) with no follow-up. It is unknown whether symptoms were pre-existing, due to treating patients with COVID-19, or living in the region.