Mental health symptoms in a cohort of hospital healthcare workers following the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK

Kasun Wanigasooriya, Priyanka Palimar, David N. Naumann, Khalida Ismail, Jodie L. Fellows, Peter Logan, Christopher V. Thompson, Helen Bermingham, Andrew D. Beggs, Tariq Ismail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Downloads (Pure)


Background The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic is likely to lead to a significant increase in mental health disorders among healthcare workers (HCW). Aims We evaluated the rates of anxiety, depressive and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms in a population of HCW in the UK. Method An electronic survey was conducted between the 5 June 2020 and 31 July 2020 of all hospital HCW in the West Midlands, UK using clinically validated questionnaires: the 4-item Patient Health Questionnaire(PHQ-4) and the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R). Univariate analyses and adjusted logistic regression analyses were performed to estimate the strengths in associations between 24 independent variables and anxiety, depressive or PTSD symptoms. Results There were 2638 eligible participants who completed the survey (female: 79.5%, median age: 42 years, interquartile range: 32-51). The rates of clinically significant symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD were 34.3%, 31.2% and 24.5%, respectively. In adjusted analysis a history of mental health conditions was associated with clinically significant symptoms of anxiety (odds ratio (OR) = 2.3, 95% CI 1.9-2.7, P < 0.001), depression (OR = 2.5, 95% CI 2.1-3.0, P < 0.001) and PTSD (OR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.7-2.5, P < 0.001). The availability of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), well-being support and lower exposure to moral dilemmas at work demonstrated significant negative associations with these symptoms (P ≤ 0.001). Conclusions We report higher rates of clinically significant mental health symptoms among hospital HCW following the initial COVID-19 pandemic peak in the UK. Those with a history of mental health conditions were most at risk. Adequate PPE availability, access to well-being support and reduced exposure to moral dilemmas may protect hospital HCW from mental health symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere24
Number of pages7
JournalBJPsych Open
Issue number1
Early online date29 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The University Hospitals Birmingham Charity covered the operational expenses incurred during this study (Remittance Reference No: C05976).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.


  • Anxiety
  • depression
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • healthcare workers
  • COVID-19


Dive into the research topics of 'Mental health symptoms in a cohort of hospital healthcare workers following the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this