Currently, the main focus of the nation is about the adverse effects of the coronavirus epidemic. Most people are focused on the updated fatalities, the negative or positive test results, the recovered patients, the economy, unemployment, work issues, among other conditions.
However, as we concentrate a lot on our loved ones in quarantine, bereaved families, and any crisis we face from the pandemic, we forget about the key people in the frontlines. These are healthcare workers who have committed themselves through hard work to ensure the safety of our health. People neglect that frontline workers are battling a silent epidemic that is affecting their mental health.
Research on mental health among health employees already indicates they are more likely to suffer from psychiatric disorders, unlike those in other industries. Further investigations also show approximately half of all doctors are experiencing burnout due to the pandemic. Those addressing coronavirus patients directly had higher rates of suicidal incidences than the general population.
The following are a few impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic that are creating stressors among healthcare workers.
Risk of Infection on Healthcare Workers
Health workers, especially those who attend coronavirus patients by taking samples for tests, are highly vulnerable to infections. The workers face daily challenges with the distressing reality of frequent exposure to the virus attack from patients. Also, they fear to be at risk of spreading the virus to their loved ones and colleagues.
Lack of Proper Social Support
While frontline healthcare workers experience more stress than others, coping mechanisms that include social support are generally unavailable due to various coronavirus policies.
Past lessons from the SARS epidemic explained to us that both social isolation and jobs involving the risk of contracting the coronavirus increase likelihood of suffering PTSD symptoms. On top of lack of social support and the work-related trauma, most frontline workers are also enduring the added stress forced by school closures and challenges getting daily needs, such as food.
Sense of Helplessness
Healthcare workers feel helpless when they lack access to the necessary facilities to provide the required excellent care. Also, they believe the available personal protective equipment (PPE) might not be useful for full protection.
Moral injury on Healthcare Workers
Currently, frontline workers are forming previously unthinkable triage decisions. Most of them are introducing medical verdicts that would formerly involve decisive input from the patients’ family members. The main reason is the patients’ loved ones have restricted access to the hospitals since they have to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
These events later create moral injuries- a military term used to describe the psychological distress that arises from perceived injustices. The aftermath is long-term harmful consequences on mood and self-esteem.
A Word from the Recover
Ensuring that healthcare workers obtain continuous mental health services is critical in managing the long-term consequences of coronavirus. People should remember that even as health providers begin to have reduced cases, the emotional toll of controlling the pandemic is far from over.
Finally, if you have a loved one who is experiencing mental distress due to the pandemic, ensure to consult our list of rehab centers near you for more information and support regarding your needs.