The mental health of healthcare workers in the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review

J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2020 Oct 26;19(2):1967-1978. doi: 10.1007/s40200-020-00643-9. eCollection 2020 Dec.


Purpose: The novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is widely spreading all over the world, causing mental health problems for most people. The medical staff is also under considerable psychological pressure. This study aimed to review all research carried out on the mental health status of health care workers (HCWs) to bring policymakers and managers' attention.

Methods: A literature search conducted through e-databases, including PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and Web of Science (WoS) from December 2019 up to April 12th 2020. All cross- sectional studies published in English which assessed the health workers' psychological well-being during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic included. Study quality was analyzed using NHLBI Study Quality assessment tools.

Results: One hundred relevant articles were identified through systematic search; of which eleven studies were eligible for this review. Their quality score was acceptable. The lowest reported prevalence of anxiety, depression, and stress among HCWs was 24.1%, 12.1%, and 29.8%, respectively. In addition, the highest reported values for the aforementioned parameters were 67.55%, 55.89%, and 62.99%, respectively. Nurses, female workers, front-line health care workers, younger medical staff, and workers in areas with higher infection rates reported more severe degrees of all psychological symptoms than other health care workers. Moreover, vicarious traumatization in non-front-line nurses and the general public was higher than that of the front-line nurses.

Conclusion: During SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, the health care workers face aggravated psychological pressure and even mental illness. It would be recommended to the policymakers and managers to adopt the supportive, encouragement & motivational, protective, and training & educational interventions, especially through information and communication platform.

Keywords: Anxiety; COVID-19; Depression; Medical staff; Psychological effect; Stress; The novel coronavirus 2019 (SARS-CoV-2).

Publication types

  • Review