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Mental health burden for NHS healthcare staff during the COVID-19 pandemic: First results of a longitudinal survey

Danson, Sarah; Sirois, Fuschia; Fradley, Kathryn; Wadsley, Jonathan; Ray, Jaydip; Bishop, Rhian; Horsman, Janet; Mann, Colette; Chantry-Groves, Loretta; Young, Matthew; Bentall, Richard

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Sarah Danson

Kathryn Fradley

Jonathan Wadsley

Jaydip Ray

Rhian Bishop

Janet Horsman

Colette Mann

Loretta Chantry-Groves

Matthew Young

Richard Bentall


Background The current investigation aimed to assess the mental health burden on healthcare workers during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Methods A link to an online survey was sent to an estimate of 18,100 employees of Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (STH) who had access to email. The survey was completed between 2nd and June 12, 2020.1390 healthcare workers (medical, nursing, administrative and other professions) participated in the first survey. Data from a general population sample (n = 2025) was used for comparison. Severity of somatic symptoms was measured by the PHQ-15. Severity and probable diagnosis of depression, anxiety, and PTSD were measured by the PHQ-9, GAD-7, and ITQ. Linear and logistic regressions were performed to determine if population group predicted the severity of mental health outcomes, and probable diagnosis of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Additionally, ANCOVAs were performed to compare mental health outcomes between occupational roles in HCWs. Analysis was performed using SPSS. Findings Healthcare workers are more likely to experience greater severity of somatic symptoms, as well as severity and probable diagnosis of depression and anxiety, compared to the general population, but not increased traumatic stress symptoms. Scientific and technical, nursing and admin staff were more likely to experience worse mental health outcomes, compared to medical staff. Interpretation The COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased mental health burden in some, but not all healthcare workers during the first acute phase of the pandemic. The findings from the current investigation provide valuable insights into which healthcare workers are particularly vulnerable to developing adverse mental health outcomes during and after a pandemic.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 9, 2023
Online Publication Date Feb 16, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Jun 26, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 26, 2023
Journal Heliyon
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 3
Article Number e13765
Public URL


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