Frontline Health Care Workers' Mental Health and Well-Being During the First Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Analysis of Interviews and Social Media Data.
Vera San Juan N., Martin S., Badley A., Maio L., Gronholm PC., Buck C., Flores EC., Vanderslott S., Syversen A., Symmons SM., Uddin I., Karia A., Iqbal S., Vindrola-Padros C.
BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on fractures in health care systems worldwide and continues to have a significant impact, particularly in relation to the health care workforce. Frontline staff have been exposed to unprecedented strain, and delivering care during the pandemic has affected their safety, mental health, and well-being. OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to explore the experiences of health care workers (HCWs) delivering care in the United Kingdom during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand their well-being needs, experiences, and strategies used to maintain well-being (at individual and organizational levels). METHODS: We analyzed 94 telephone interviews with HCWs and 2000 tweets about HCWs' mental health during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: The results were grouped under 6 themes: redeployment, clinical work, and sense of duty; well-being support and HCW's coping strategies; negative mental health effects; organizational support; social network and support; and public and government support. CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrate the need for open conversations, where staff's well-being needs and the strategies they adopted can be shared and encouraged, rather than implementing top-down psychological interventions alone. At the macro level, the findings also highlighted the impact on HCW's well-being of public and government support as well as the need to ensure protection through personal protective equipment, testing, and vaccines for frontline workers.