Amid coronavirus pandemic, UK researchers urge focus on ICU staff mental health: study

amid coronavirus pandemic uk researchers urge focus on icu staff mental health study

A new study found that 40% of about 700 medical workers in the U.K., caring for the most dire coronavirus patients, hit the threshold for developing post-traumatic stress disorder, among other pressing mental health concerns.

This almost certainly hinders the care they can give — at a time when patients need it the most — researchers say.

The team from King’s College London published findings Wednesday in the Occupational Medicine journal.


The team sent brief, anonymous surveys to intensive care staff in National Health Service hospitals across the U.K. with questions regarding mental health. Nearly half of 709 respondents from nine hospitals met thresholds for either severe depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, or issues related to alcohol.

Around one in seven respondents said they’d be better off dead, or frequently considered self-harm.

“Our results show a substantial burden of mental health symptoms being reported by ICU staff towards the end of the first wave in July 2020,” Prof. Neil Greenberg, lead author with King’s College London, said in a university release. “The severity of symptoms we identified are highly likely to impair some ICU staff’s ability to provide high-quality care as well as negatively impacting on their quality of life.”

Medical staff in intensive care units (ICUs) are responsible for caring for critically ill patients. (iStock)

The study identified nurses in particular as reporting poor mental health, compared to doctors and other ICU health care workers.…

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