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Background: The ongoing global pandemic of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) infection has created unrest and fear among frontline healthcare workers worldwide. Objective: To investigate the mental health status of medical staff working in the COVID-19 outbreak, and to compare anxiety, insomnia, and post-traumatic distress syndrome among healthcare workers dealing directly and indirectly with confirmed COVID-19 patients.
Methods: The cross-sectional study was carried out in seven tertiary care hospitals as designated COVID-19 centers, between July and September 2020 with a response rate of 76.3%. The study population comprised of medical staff working in COVID-19 dedicated tertiary care hospitals managing COVID-19 patients. Mental health assessment was done by using GAD-7, ISI-7, and IES-R-22 standardized scales to evaluate depression, anxiety, insomnia, and distress among healthcare workers.
Results: 458 healthcare workers participated in the study, 254 (55.5%) males and 204 (44.5%) females with a mean age of 31.98±7.18 years. Study participants were divided into two groups based on their interaction with confirmed cases of COVID-19. More number of healthcare workers directly dealing with COVID-19 patients (Group A) were at risk of developing anxiety (GAD score ≥10) with crude odds of 3.16 (adjusted OR=3.40, 95% CI 2.1 – 5.7, p<0.001) as compared to those indirectly or not dealing with COVID-19 patients (Group B). Similarly, Group A was more likely to suffer from insomnia (ISI score ≥15) and post-traumatic distress syndrome (IMS-R score ≥33) with crude odds of 2.88 (adjusted OR=2.14, 95% CI 1.2 – 3.8, p<0.001) and 3.36 (adjusted OR=3.2, 95% CI 2.0 – 5.3, p<0.001) respectively.
Conclusion: A significant number of healthcare workers were found to be suffering from mental health illnesses during the COVID-19 outbreak.