UK medical staff suffer trauma and severe anxiety due to COVID-19: Study
Nearly half of medical staff working in hospitals in England in the COVID-19 pandemic have severe anxiety, depression or feel suicidal, according to a study published on Wednesday.
Many ICU nurses and doctors meet the clinical threshold for PTSD, anxiety or problem drinking, and symptoms are so severe that some reported contemplating self-harm or suicide.
Such acutely poor mental health among ICU staff caring for critically ill and dying COVID-19 patients is likely to impair their ability to work effectively and harm their quality of life, the researchers leading the study said.
More than 81,000 people have died of COVID-19 in Britain, the world’s fifth-highest official death toll in the global pandemic.
More than 3 million people in Britain have tested positive for COVID-19 disease and the government says hospitals and intensive care wards are on the brink of being overwhelmed.
The pressure on ICU staff -- who work with very sick patients for long periods in areas where the risk of COVID-19 exposure is high and where staff and equipment shortages pose problems on a daily basis -- has been particularly high.
“The high rate of mortality amongst COVID-19 patients admitted to ICU, coupled with difficulty in communication and providing adequate end-of-life support to patients ... are very likely to have been highly challenging stressors for all staff working in ICUs,” said Neil Greenberg, a professor at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience at King’s College London who co-led the research.