What is it about?

In a survey of 761 staff at three psychiatric hospitals, 16% screened positive for PTSD on a self-report assessment. Also, 20% screened positive for depression, and 16% for anxiety. PTSD symptoms were uniquely associated with exposure to workplace trauma. Most participants (62%) did not seek any formal support for their mental health; when they did, they most often went to see a family doctor (47%). Participants meeting the PTSD screening cut-off were more likely to seek help, but were also more likely to face barriers. Most psychiatric staff who screened positive for PTSD, depression, or anxiety thought they could handle it without treatment (65%).

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Why is it important?

This study shows that nurses and others who work in psychiatric hospitals can experience workplace trauma and other mental health problems. Making sure that mental health services are available to healthcare providers is important, but so is awareness of the stigma and structural barriers that make it difficult for mental health care providers to seek help for their own mental health.


Co-writing this paper was important to me because it goes beyond stating the problem to starting to identify solutions. Look out for other research and resources from the Trauma among Psychiatric Workers team to see what we're doing next.

Dr N Zoe Hilton
University of Toronto

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Depression, Anxiety Symptoms and Help Seeking in Psychiatric Staff, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, March 2020, SAGE Publications,
DOI: 10.1177/0706743720916356.
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