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The psychosocial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on 4,378 UK healthcare workers and ancillary staff: initial baseline data from a cohort study collected during the first wave of the pandemic.

By Danielle Lamb, Sam Gnanapragasam, Neil Greenberg, Rupa Bhundia, Ewan Carr, Matthew H Hotopf, Reza Razavi, Rosalind Raine, Sean Cross, Amy Dewar, Mary Docherty, Sarah Dorrington, Stephani Hatch, Charlotte Wilson-Jones, Daniel J Leightley, Ira Madan, Sally Marlow, Isabel McMullen, Anne Marie Rafferty, Martin Parsons, Catherine Polling, Danai Serfioti, Helen Gaunt, Peter Aitken, Joanna Morris-Bone, Chloe Simela, Veronica French, Rachel Harris, Sharon Stevelink, Simon Wessely

Posted 22 Jan 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.01.21.20240887

Objectives This study reports preliminary findings on the prevalence of, and factors associated with, mental health and wellbeing outcomes of healthcare workers during the early months (April-June) of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Methods Preliminary cross-sectional data were analysed from a cohort study (n=4,378). Clinical and non-clinical staff of three London-based NHS Trusts (UK), including acute and mental health Trusts, took part in an online baseline survey. The primary outcome measure used is the presence of probable common mental disorders (CMDs), measured by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12). Secondary outcomes are probable anxiety (GAD-7), depression (PHQ-9), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (PCL-6), suicidal ideation (CIS-R), and alcohol use (AUDIT). Moral injury is measured using the Moray Injury Event Scale (MIES). Results Analyses showed substantial levels of CMDs (58.9%, 95%CI 58.1 to 60.8), and of PTSD (30.2%, 95%CI 28.1 to 32.5) with lower levels of depression (27.3%, 95%CI 25.3 to 29.4), anxiety (23.2%, 95%CI 21.3 to 25.3), and alcohol misuse (10.5%, 95%CI, 9.2 to 11.9). Women, younger staff, and nurses tended to have poorer outcomes than other staff, except for alcohol misuse. Higher reported exposure to moral injury (distress resulting from violation of one's moral code) was strongly associated with increased levels of CMDs, anxiety, depression, PTSD symptoms, and alcohol misuse. Conclusions Our findings suggest that mental health support for healthcare workers should consider those demographics and occupations at highest risk. Rigorous longitudinal data are needed in order to respond to the potential long-term mental health impacts of the pandemic.

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