The Stream

Coronavirus: The mental health battle faced by healthcare workers

As the struggle against coronavirus continues, we explore the emotional fallout borne by those on the frontline.

On Monday, 11 May at 19:30 GMT:
Healthcare workers are on the frontline of the fight against coronavirus, and around the world they are being hailed as heroes. But, away from the headlines, many are tackling more personal battles.

A global study published in March in the medical journal JAMA found that, out of 1,257 healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients in China, 50.4 percent reported symptoms of depression, 44.6 percent had symptoms of anxiety, 34 percent had experienced insomnia, and 71.5 percent reported some form of distress. 

Healthcare workers are trained to work through crises but the coronavirus pandemic is like nothing they have ever faced. They find themselves navigating severe illness and death, all the while grappling with shortages of essential protective gear. Experts believe this will likely lead to burnout, depression, PTSD and other forms of psychological trauma.

In this episode of The Stream, we speak to mental health experts and medical professionals to hear about the pandemic’s impact on their profession and to find out whether more can be done to protect these vital workers.

On this episode of The Stream we are joined by:
Dr. Ahmed Twaij, @twaiji 
Doctor and journalist 

Dr. Arghavan Salles, @arghavan_salles
Scholar in residence at the Stanford School of Medicine 

Dr. Colin West, @ColinWestMDPhD
Professor of medicine, medical education and biostatistics at the Mayo Clinic

Read more:
COVID-19: Growing concerns over medical workers’ mental health – Al Jazeera
The mental health crisis for frontline workers has already begun – Buzzfeed