Mental Health Status, Risk and Protective Factors for Healthcare Staff Prior to the First Major COVID-19 Outbreak in Western Australia

Elizabeth A. Newnham, Enrique L.P. Mergelsberg, Jessica Tearne, Peter McEvoy, Susanne Stanley, Antonio Celenza, Hyranthi Kavanagh, Teresa Stevenson, Nahal Mavaddat, Gavin Demore, Sean Hood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: Western Australia’s unique public health response delayed the first wave of community COVID-19 transmission for 2 years. We aimed to determine the status of post-traumatic stress (PTSS), depressive, and anxiety symptoms among healthcare staff in major tertiary hospitals, together with associated risk and protective factors prior to the first substantial outbreak of COVID-19. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted with 431 healthcare staff immediately prior to the Western Australian border re-opening in 2022. Staff were recruited via notices in email newsletters, at four tertiary hospitals and a public mental health clinic in metropolitan Perth. Validated and original questionnaires were administered via Qualtrics. Results: Moderate levels of PTSS (22.3%), depression (21.9%), and anxiety (25.9%) were reported. Pathway analyses indicated that sleep difficulties, workplace stressors, and infectious disease training were associated with higher PTSS, depression and anxiety symptoms, and younger age was associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety. Nursing roles were associated with higher PTSS. Social support and workplace support were associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety but were not associated with PTSS. Conclusion: The findings illustrate high levels of resilience, but indicate a need for structural supports within the health system to foster staff mental health prior to the onset of emergencies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1606102
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Volume68
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2023

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