• Voices from the frontline: the psychological impact and coping mechanisms used by healthcare staff during COVID-19

      Majumder, Pallab; Sales, Christian P. (2021)
      Background/Aims Healthcare workers have been affected by the physical and psychological consequences of working during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study explored the effects of the pandemic on the psychological wellbeing of UK healthcare workers, as well as the coping mechanisms used and the workplace support that they found helpful. Methods A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to healthcare workers across various settings, including primary care, community services, hospital settings and specialist or tertiary service settings. A convenience sample was used to select the participants. The responses were collected for 1 month at the height of the first wave of COVID-19 in the UK (10 April 2020-10 May 2020). Results were collated and analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences software. Results Responses to the questionnaire showed the negative emotional, behavioural and cognitive impact of the pandemic on staff, with many experiencing issues such as anxiety, anger, disrupted sleep and worries about contracting the virus. A concerning number also reported symptoms of severe psychological distress, including depersonalisation, derealisation, self-harm and suicidal thoughts. Practical coping mechanisms were generally preferred. Older, male staff were significantly less likely to reach out for support than their younger and female counterparts. Respondents also expressed a preference for practical support from their employer, such as more managerial support at work, time off and financial incentives.