Mental Health Assessment among Health Care Workers in a Tertiary COVID-19 Referral Hospital: A Cross-Sectional Study, Philippines, September-November 2021

Respiratory Diseases
Mental health

Background: Evidence of short- and long-term effects on mental health among health care workers (HCW) occurred in previous outbreaks. This study aims to profile participants, determine mental health status, and identify perceived stress factors, coping mechanisms, and motivational factors of HCW in a COVID-19 referral hospital.

Methods: We conducted a quantitative cross-sectional study of randomly selected HCW. Standard questionnaire was used which included demographic data, health history, COVID-19 exposure, and vaccination status. Adapted tools were used: Depression, Anxiety, and Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21); and a 5-point unipolar Likert scale on perceived factors to stress. Univariate/bivariate analysis, stratification, prevalence odds risk factors, and Mann-Whitney U test for Likert scale were computed.

Results: A total of 213 completed the survey questionnaires. Age ranged from 22-63 years old (Median:35). Majority, 151 (71%) female, 110 (52%) single, and 81 (38%) nurses. Eighty-two (39%) had direct exposure to confirmed COVID-19 cases. Seventy (33%) had at least one finding in DASS-21: 59 (28%) anxiety, 37 (17%) depression, and 16 (8%) stress. Higher odds of being stressed (OR:5.35,95%CI:1.83-15.65,p=0.0008) and depressed (OR:3.74,95%CI:1.47-9.18,p=0.0004) were among doctors compared with other professions. Younger staff (≤34 years old) were associated with depression (OR:2.65,95%CI:1.23-5.69,p=0.0460). Lower odds of anxiety (OR:0.31,95%CI:0.16-0.60,p=0.0003) and depression (OR:0.44,95%CI:0.21-0.93,p=0.0293) were among those living with relatives. A bigger household (≥4 persons) had lower odds of depression (OR:0.40,95%CI:0.19-0.87,p=0.0178). While 13 (9%) had consultation with psychologist/psychiatrist, 142 (64%) expressed willingness to consult. Fifteen (7%) were aware of the institution’s mental health program. Perceived stress alleviating factors were having positive attitude of colleagues, practicing infection prevention control (IPC), and trusting the hospital assistance if they get infected.

Conclusions: We identified prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress among HCW. Advocacy activities which include support groups, announcing of free psychological/psychiatric consultations, assigning safety officers for strict implementation of IPC, and communicating hospital’s management available support were recommended.

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