One in five health and care workers had post traumatic stress disorder after the pandemic stuck last year, a new UK-Israeli study suggests.
Almost three in five health and social care workers suffered a mental health problem during the first lockdown, according to the study led by researchers from UCL and the University of Haifa, Israel.
Some 58% of workers in these sectors were deemed to have a mental health disorder between May 27 and July 23 last year, and 22% met the criteria for PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
Figures from the Frontline Covid study, published in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology, examined data on 1,194 health and social care workers from hospitals, nursing or care homes and other community settings across the UK.
The researchers found that 47% had clinically significant anxiety and 47% had depression.
Concerns raised by staff included Fears about infecting others with Covid, being unable to talk with their managers about how they were coping, feeling stigmatised about their role, and concern over not having had reliable access to personal protective equipment (PPE).
Researchers said that staff who were deemed to be suffering from PTSD were more likely to have been redeployed to other teams.
They were also more likely to have had Covid-19 themselves.
Lead author, Dr Talya Greene, said: “Our study shows that more than half of health and social care staff surveyed met criteria for a mental disorder following the first wave of Covid-19 in the UK.
“Importantly, we found that rates of distress were high, not only among doctors and nurses, but across a wide range of health and social care roles, such as allied health professionals, ambulance workers, hospital porters, pharmacists, and care home staff.
“Let’s be clear: we may be on the verge of a mental health crisis across the health and social care sector.
“So we need to make sure that specialist help is offered and accessible across all the different roles and settings.
“It is important that this support is planned for the long-term. Our findings highlight the urgency for immediate long-term funding for specialist mental health services for health and social care workers.”
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