The severe 2019 outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which was first reported in Wuhan, would be expected to impact the mental health of local medical and nursing staff and thus lead them to seek help. However, those outcomes have yet to be established using epidemiological data. To explore the mental health status of medical and nursing staff and the efficacy, or lack thereof, of critically connecting psychological needs to receiving psychological care, we conducted a quantitative study. This is the first paper on the mental health of medical and nursing staff in Wuhan. Notably, among 994 medical and nursing staff working in Wuhan, 36.9% had subthreshold mental health disturbances (mean PHQ-9: 2.4), 34.4% had mild disturbances (mean PHQ-9: 5.4), 22.4% had moderate disturbances (mean PHQ-9: 9.0), and 6.2% had severe disturbance (mean PHQ-9: 15.1) in the immediate wake of the viral epidemic. The noted burden fell particularly heavily on young women. Of all participants, 36.3% had accessed psychological materials (such as books on mental health), 50.4% had accessed psychological resources available through media (such as online push messages on mental health self-help coping methods), and 17.5% had participated in counseling or psychotherapy. Trends in levels of psychological distress and factors such as exposure to infected people and psychological assistance were identified. Although staff accessed limited mental healthcare services, distressed staff nonetheless saw these services as important resources to alleviate acute mental health disturbances and improve their physical health perceptions. These findings emphasize the importance of being prepared to support frontline workers through mental health interventions at times of widespread crisis.
Keywords: 2019 novel coronavirus disease; Exposure; Medical and nursing staff; Mental health; Mental healthcare.
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