Healthcare workers (HCWs) have faced considerable pressures during the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, this has resulted in mental health distress and disorder. Although interventions have sought to support HCWs, few have been evaluated.
We aimed to determine the effectiveness of the Foundations App on general (non-psychotic) psychiatric morbidity.
We conducted a multicentre randomised controlled trial of HCWs at 16 NHS Trusts. Participants were randomly assigned to the App or wait-list control group. Measures were assessed at baseline, after four and eight weeks. The primary outcome was general psychiatric morbidity (General Health Questionnaire). Secondary outcomes included: wellbeing; presenteeism; anxiety; depression and insomnia. The primary analysis used mixed-effects multivariable regression, presented as adjusted mean differences (aMD).
Between 22nd March and 3rd June 2021, 1,002 participants were randomised (500:502), and 894 (89.2%) followed-up. The sample was predominately female (754/894, 84%), with a mean age of 44·3 years (IQR 34-53). Participants randomised to the App had a reduction in psychiatric morbidity symptoms (aMD=-1.39; 95%CI -2.05 to -0.74), improvement in well-being (aMD=0·54; 95%CI 0·20 to 0·89), and reduction in insomnia (aOR=0·36, 95%CI 0·21 to 0·60). No other significant findings were found, or adverse events reported.
The App had an effect in reducing psychiatric morbidity symptoms in a representative sample of HCWs. Given it is scalable with no adverse effects, the App may be used as part of an organisation’s tiered staff support package. Further evidence is needed on the long-term effectiveness and cost-effectiveness.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||British Journal of Psychiatry|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 9 Jun 2022|