Nearly half of ICU staff surveyed in UK report mental health disorder amid pandemic, study finds

Probable mental health disorders, and thoughts of self-harm, are prevalent among intensive care unit staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research published Jan. 13 in Occupational Medicine.

The research from King's College London examined survey responses from 709 healthcare workers from nine ICUs in England. Participants completed surveys in June and July to identify the rates of probable depression, anxiety symptoms, post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, and alcohol use.

Researchers found that 45 percent of survey respondents met the probable threshold for one of the following disorders: severe depression (6 percent), PTSD (40 percent), severe anxiety (11 percent) or problem drinking (7 percent). They also found that 13 percent of survey respondents reported having thoughts that they would be better off dead, or of hurting themselves several days or more often in the past two weeks. Nurses (19 percent) were more likely than physicians (8 percent) or other clinical staff (10 percent) to report these thoughts, according to the study.

"Whilst further work is needed to better understand the real level of clinical need amongst ICU staff, these results indicate the need for a national strategy to protect the mental health, and decrease the risk of functional impairment, of ICU staff whilst they carry out their essential work during COVID-19," researchers concluded.

Read more about the study here

 

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