What is it about?

The study examines the psychological impact of COVID-19 on healthcare staff who worked in intensive care across seven countries (UK, France, Italy, Taiwan, China, Egypt and Belgium .This included staff who already worked there and staff, who were not trained in intensive care medicine, and were moved there to help look after all the covid-19 patients. We studied effect on post traumatic stress disorder, depression and difficulty sleeping (insomnia).

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Why is it important?

The study identified stark statistics. The proportion of staff who screened positive were 16-49% for depression, 60-86% for insomnia and 17-35% for post-traumatic stress disorder. It shows staff exposed to personal protective equipment for longer were more significantly affected across the three domains. The study also shows female gender, advancing age and staff who are not based in intensive care normally, were more vulnerable.


This study is important as it examines mental effects specifically for staff working in intensive care. It shows we do have a problem. And with subsequent waves, I worry the effects will be longer lasting as staff resilience is exhausted and burnout sets in. As the public and policy makers we should place emphasis on encouraging staff to seek mental health support. We should strive to treat clinicians similarly to sports teams with team psychologists. This will improve performance and undoubtedly improve , already high sickness related absence within the NHS and healthcare.

Ahmed Ezzat
Imperial College London

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The global mental health burden of COVID-19 on critical care staff, British Journal of Nursing, June 2021, Mark Allen Group,
DOI: 10.12968/bjon.2021.30.11.634.
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