The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of healthcare professionals

QJM. 2020 Jun 22:hcaa207. doi: 10.1093/qjmed/hcaa207. Online ahead of print.


Introduction: Healthcare professionals (HPs) have been confronted by unprecedented traumatic experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in countries that had not experienced similar epidemic outbreaks in recent years.

Aim: To analyze the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of HPs.

Method: We comprehensively reviewed the studies published in MEDLINE (PubMed), Web of Science and Google Scholar between December 2019 and May 2020.

Results: Most studies report a high prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms among HPs that can be associated with: a) COVID-19 exposure; b) epidemiological issues; c) material resources; d) human resources; and e) personal factors. The role of certain variables, before, during and after the pandemic, remains unexplored. Longitudinal studies will help elucidate which factors are associated with a higher risk of developing long-lasting negative effects. Qualitative studies may contribute to understanding the influence of individual and social narratives in HPs' distress.

Conclusion: A deeper analysis on the individual, institutional, political and socio-cultural factors, meanings and values influencing HPs distress and resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic is needed.