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New study into mental health of ICU staff during covid surge

Added on the 26th May 2022

A new study, co-authored by March on Stress Managing Director Professor Neil Greenberg, has found that close to two-thirds of intensive care unit (ICU) staff may have experienced a mental health disorder during the winter covid surge in 2021.

The study found that functional impairment was more prevalent during the covid surge in comparison to after. During the surge, 69.1% of participants met the threshold criteria for functional impairment.

A total of 6080 surveys were completed, by ICU nurses, doctors and other healthcare staff. Reporting probable mental health disorders (encompassing depression, anxiety, harmful use of alcohol and post-traumatic stress disorder) increased from 51% (before) to 64% (during), and then decreased to 46% (after).

Professor Greenberg said: “Our results highlight the pressing need to ensure that all NHS staff are able to rely on support from their peers and supervisors, as well as having access to evidence-based care if they are unfortunate enough to develop a mental health problem.

"The UK already recognises military veterans as a special group and the NHS provides them with dedicated, priority health care allowing them more rapid access to assessment and treatment than other members of the general population.

“The same should apply to NHS staff who have undoubtedly been the country's first line of defence over the past two years, and most probably for much longer. We cannot afford to have NHS staff waiting to receive evidence based mental health care; instead the nation should do all they can to ensure that those NHS staff who are damaged by their work have access to priority care in the same manner as is afforded to military veterans."

The full study is available here.


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