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Medical staff too facing mental health issues

While the focus has been on the mental health issues of Covid patients, what has gone unnoticed are the issues faced by healthcare professionals treating coronavirus patients.

Published: 17th September 2020 05:48 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2020 12:16 PM   |  A+A-

Free Covid testing being conducted in Bengaluru on Wednesday | Vinod Kumar T

Express News Service

BENGALURU: While the focus has been on the mental health issues of Covid patients, what has gone unnoticed are the issues faced by healthcare professionals treating coronavirus patients.

The world’s biggest survey of healthcare professionals to understand their levels of stress and resilience was carried out in the country and was piloted by three health professionals from the city. 

The inspiration for the survey is the time when Dr. Manohar KN himself was quarantined during the early days of this pandemic. He then hit upon this idea of assessing the Mental health status of HCPs, paving way for the largest survey of HCPs in the world during COVID times.

He then reached out to his collegue C R Satish Kumar, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Manipal Hospitals, for help. The two, along with Neha Parashar, Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychologist, Montfort College, started the survey.

The survey was conducted among healthcare professionals above 20 and below 65 years of age in 26 states and union territories. In all, 2,008 doctors, nurses and technical staff participated. Around 51 per cent women and 49 per cent men reported having intrusive thoughts related to difficulties faced by their patients. They chose avoidance to deal with stressors and said they had bodily symptoms because of multiple stressors after interacting with Covid patients.

The survey indicated that primary healthcare providers suffered from sadder moods. Even the resilient and optimistic among them showed signs of pessimism (reported by almost 70 per cent of participants). Only 20 per cent reported being highly optimistic.Dr Manohar said, “It shows that healthcare professionals too need psychological support, to enhance their mental health and self-care practices. No one is talking about a potential mental health crisis that healthcare workers are facing. To an outside observer, healthcare workers look strong and resilient in the face of the unknown. Underneath, many workers are barely keeping it together.”

Dr Kumar said, “These professionals do not have time for themselves and they do not seek mental health support. After doing the study, we launched a hotline and counselled over 500 nurses and lab technicians. After understanding their issues, we had psychotherapy sessions.”Prof Parashar said, “We were amazed to see the resilience and optimism which is a positive note too. Many healthcare professionals were affected, yet many have been positive and continue with their job.”

More from Bengaluru.

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