Mental health impact of pandemics on healthcare staff

20 November 2020

Researchers have looked at how treating patients in past pandemics affected the mental health of frontline staff.

The researchers reviewed 19 studies that mainly addressed the acute phase of the SARS outbreak in Asia.

The study, published in the European Journal of Psychotraumatology, found that almost a quarter of healthcare workers experienced PTSD symptoms during the most intense phase of previous pandemic outbreaks. A year on, 11.9% of carers still experienced symptoms.

More than a third had symptoms such as anxiety or depression during the acute phase, 17.9% after six months, and 29.3% after a year or beyond.

Co-author Sophie Allen said: ‘Overall there are not enough studies examining the impact of pandemics on the mental health of healthcare staff.’

She concluded: ‘More research is needed that focuses on Covid-19 specifically and looks at the mental health of healthcare workers longer-term.’