LONDON (Reuters) – Nearly half of the staff working in intensive care units (ICU) in England in the COVID-19 epidemic have severe anxiety, depression, or traumatic stress disorder, with some reporting feeling they have died better off, Accordingly in 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 considering suicide or suicide.
Leading researchers in the study stated that mental health was likely to worsen among ICU staff caring for critically ill and dying COVID-19 patients.
COVID-19 has killed more than 81,000 people in the UK, the world’s fifth largest official toll in a global pandemic.
More than 3 million people in the UK have tested positive for COVID-19 disease and the government says hospitals and intensive care wards are on the verge of being overpopulated.
The pressure on ICU staff – who work long hours with very ill patients in areas where the risk of COVID-19 exposure is high and where staff and equipment reduce problems on a daily basis – has been particularly high.
“COVID-19 patients admitted to ICV have high rates of mortality, difficulty communicating and providing adequate livelihood support to patients … Stress is likely to be highly challenging for all staff working in ICUs, Neil said Neil Greenberg is a professor at the Institute of Psychology, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London who co-led the research.
The study, published in the journal Occupational Health, was conducted in June and July – before the UK began to experience its latest rise in infections.
It was found that out of more than 700 healthcare workers in nine ICUs across England, 45% met the threshold for potential clinical significance for at least one of four serious mental health disorders: severe depression (6 %), PTSD (40%), severe anxiety (11%) or drinking problem (7%).
Of most concern, researchers said, more than one in eight studies involved reported suicides or thoughts of suicide – such as thinking better about being dead, or hurting themselves – in the past two weeks. In.
Greenberg said the findings “highlight the potentially profound impact on mental health of exposed UK employees,” Greenberg said, and there is an urgent need for mental health services for all health workers.
Reporting by Kate Kelland, editing by Timothy Heritage