Nearly half of ICU staff suffering PTSD, depression, alcoholism or anxiety



Almost half of intensive care workers have battled depression, anxiety or problems with drinking during the coronavirus pandemic, a study has revealed  The research, which surveyed staff from nine intensive care wards across England, found that 45% of workers met the clinical threshold for at least one of the following conditions: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), severe anxiety and depression, or a drinking dependency  One in eight workers said they had experienced suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming themselves within the two weeks previous The study, conducted by King’s College London, found poor mental health was more common among nurses than doctors or health workers on the ward  The surveys were undertaken during the first wave of the pandemic, between June and July 2020 More than 700 healthcare workers took part  Professor Neil Greenberg of the KCL Institute for Psychiatry, the lead author on the study, said the mental health impact of the pandemic on staff was `highly likely to impair ability to provide high quality care’  He said the results demonstrated `a substantial burden of mental health symptoms’ being reported, and noted that it was `negatively impacting’ the quality of life among staff  Prof Greenberg added: `The high rate of mortality amongst Covid-19 patients admitted to ICU – coupled with difficulty in communication and providing adequate end-of-life support to patients and their next of kin because of visiting restrictions – are very likely to have been highly challenging stressors for all staff working in ICUs’  Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), also described how nurses had been left feeling as if they have `no fuel left in the tank’ while caring for Covid patients  She said: `Their resilience is being seriously tested Nursing staff need help now to deal with unimaginable levels of anxiety and stress, but there must also be a long-term plan to tackle problems, like PTSD, which may reoccur over many years’  Separate data revealed that the number of doctors seeking psychiatric help through the British Medical Association (BMA) has risen by almost 50% since the pandemic began  A total of 371 doctors accessed the BMA’s helpline during November last year, up 251 from in January 2020  An NHS spokeswoman said: `This is an incredibly tough time for NHS staff working on the front line which is why we have invested œ15 million in support, including 38 local mental health and wellbeing hubs and a service for staff with complex mental health needs, such as trauma and addiction  `The public can also help to support doctors and nurses by following the `hands, space, face’ guidance to reduce pressure on hospitals and save lives’ Sign Up for  Not convinced? Find out more ¯

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