The mental health of critical care and anaesthetic staff during COVID-19
Background. Intensive Care Unit (ICU), anaesthetic and theatres staff have faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic which have the potential to adversely affect their mental health Aims. To identify the rates of probable mental health disorder in ICU and anaesthetic staff in six hospitals during June and July 2020 Methods. An anonymised brief web-based survey comprising standardised questionnaires examining depression, anxiety symptoms, symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress
... atic Stress Disorder (PTSD), wellbeing and alcohol use was administered to staff. Results. 709 participants completed the surveys comprising 291 (41%) Doctors, 344 (48.5%) Nurses, and 74 (10.4%) as other clinicians. Over half (58.8%) reported good wellbeing, however 45.4% met the threshold for probable clinical significance on at least one of the following measures: severe depression (6.3%), PTSD (39.5%), severe anxiety (11.3%) or problem drinking (7.2%). 13.4% of respondents reported frequent thoughts of being better off dead, or of hurting themselves in the past two weeks. We found that doctors consistently reported better mental health than nurses. Conclusions. We found substantial rates of probable mental health disorders, and thoughts of self-harm, amongst ICU staff; these difficulties were especially prevalent in ICU nurses. Our results a pressing need for a national strategy should be designed to protect the mental health of ICU staff whilst they carry out their essential work during COVID-19. This should target preventative actions, including reducing exposure of staff to psychological harm, as well as ensuring that staff who need formal treatment are able to access it in a timely manner.