Providing care to others at any time can be stressful, and the past year and a half has put even more pressure on health care workers. Long shifts, few breaks, frustration with public misperceptions about the virus, and shifting COVID-19 protocols can all increase stress, fear, and anxiety for health care workers on the frontline. Scroll for more.
Working through COVID-19 can lead to a range of emotions from anger, exhaustion, and compassion fatigue, to guilt, shame, or even self-criticism.
Many health care workers are experiencing pandemic-related symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).43
Alcohol and substance use disorders are increasing among health care workers due to the pandemic—including those with no prior history of disorders.44
Health care workers may face mental health challenges like depression, anxiety, and extreme levels of compassion fatigue after working through such a year.
Health care workers are reporting high levels of chronic anxiety and chronic exhaustion (exhaustion that doesn’t go away by getting more sleep, inability to fall/stay asleep, chronic headaches or stomachaches) as a result of working through the pandemic.45
Common Challenges for Health Care Workers
It’s been a long year and a half for many health care workers. For much of the public, things are getting back to a state of normalcy, but many health care workers see no end in sight and are still coping with the mental health challenges related to working through COVID-19. Support is available.