A rapid review of the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of health and social care workers: implications for psychological interventions
BackgroundHealth and social care workers (HSCWs) have carried a heavy burden during the COVID-19 crisis and in the challenge to control the virus have directly faced its consequences. Supporting their psychological wellbeing continues therefore to be a priority. This rapid review was carried out to identify whether there are any identifiable risk factors for adverse mental health outcomes amongst HSCWs during the COVID-19 crisis. The review also sought to identify a participant population for
... e trial of a digital intervention to support HSCW's psychological wellbeing during the pandemic. MethodsWe undertook a rapid review of the literature following guidelines by the WHO and the COVID-19 Cochrane Collaboration's recommendations. We searched across 14 databases, executing the search at two different time points. We included published observational and experimental studies that reported the psychological effects on health and care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. ResultsThe 24 studies included in this review reported data predominantly from China (18 out of 24 included studies) and most sampled urban hospital staff. Our study indicates that COVID-19 has a considerable impact on the psychological wellbeing of front line hospital staff. Results suggest that nurses may be at higher risk of adverse mental health outcomes during this pandemic, but no studies compare this group with the social care or primary care workforce. Other risk factors identified were underlying organic illness, gender (female), concern about family, fear of infection, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and close contact with COVID-19. Resilience was identified as a factor protecting against adverse mental health outcomes. ConclusionsThe evidence to date suggests that female nurses with close contact with COVID-19 patients may have the most to gain from psychological interventions. However, inconsistencies in findings and a lack of data outside of hospital settings, suggest that we should not exclude any groups when addressing psychological wellbeing in health and social care workers. Psychological interventions aimed at enhancing psychological resilience and utilising innovative methods to personalise treatments without excluding groups may be of benefit.