Exploring the factors associated with the mental health of frontline healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in Cyprus
Introduction: The spread of COVID-19 into a global pandemic has negatively affected the mental health of frontline healthcare-workers. This study is a multi-centre, cross-sectional epidemiological study that uses nationwide data to assess the prevalence of stress, anxiety, depression and burnout among health care workers managing COVID-19 patients in Cyprus. The study also investigates the mechanism behind the manifestation of these pathologies, as to allow for the design of more effective protective measures. Methods: Data on the mental health status of the healthcare workers were collected from healthcare professionals from all over the nation, who worked directly with Covid patients. This was done via the use of 64-item, self-administered questionnaire, which was comprised of the DASS21 questionnaire, the Maslach Burnout Inventory and a number of original questions. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to investigate factors associated with each of the mental health measures. Results: The sample population was comprised of 381 healthcare professionals, out of which 72.7% were nursing staff, 12.9% were medical doctors and 14.4% belonged to other occupations. The prevalence of anxiety, stress and depression among the sample population were 28.6%, 18.11% and 15% respectively. The prevalence of burnout was 12.3%. This was in parallel with several changes in the lives of the healthcare professionals, including; working longer hours, spending time in isolation and being separated from family. Discussion: This study indicates that the mental health of a significant portion of the nation’s workforce is compromised and, therefore, highlights the need for an urgent intervention particularly since many countries, including Cyprus, are suffering a second wave of the pandemic. The identified risk factors should offer guidance for employers aiming to protect their frontline healthcare workers from the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.