Mental health of staff working in intensive care during Covid-19

N. Greenberg, D. Weston, C. Hall, T. Caulfield, V. Williamson, K. Fong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

196 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Staff working in intensive care units (ICUs) have faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic which have the potential to adversely affect their mental health. AIMS: To identify the rates of probable mental health disorder in staff working in ICUs in nine English hospitals during June and July 2020. METHODS: An anonymized brief web-based survey comprising standardized questionnaires examining depression, anxiety symptoms, symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), well-being and alcohol use was administered to staff. RESULTS: Seven hundred and nine participants completed the surveys comprising 291 (41%) doctors, 344 (49%) nurses and 74 (10%) other healthcare staff. Over half (59%) reported good well-being; however, 45% met the threshold for probable clinical significance on at least one of the following measures: severe depression (6%), PTSD (40%), severe anxiety (11%) or problem drinking (7%). Thirteen per cent of respondents reported frequent thoughts of being better off dead, or of hurting themselves in the past 2 weeks. Within the sample used in this study, we found that doctors reported better mental health than nurses across a range of measures. CONCLUSIONS: We found substantial rates of probable mental health disorders, and thoughts of self-harm, amongst ICU staff; these difficulties were especially prevalent in nurses. Whilst further work is needed to better understand the real level of clinical need amongst ICU staff, these results indicate the need for a national strategy to protect the mental health, and decrease the risk of functional impairment, of ICU staff whilst they carry out their essential work during COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-67
Number of pages6
JournalOccupational medicine (Oxford, England)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Apr 2021


  • COVID-19
  • doctors
  • intensive care
  • mental health
  • nurses
  • PTSD
  • self-harm


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