Pandemic & Mental Health Of The Front-Line Healthcare Workers


Pandemic, being unprecedented, leads to several mental health problems, especially among the front-line healthcare workers (HCW). Front-line HCWs often suffer from anxiety, depression, burnout, insomnia and stress-related disorders. This is mediated to a large extent by the biopsychological vulnerabilities of the individuals; socioenvironmental factors such as the risk of exposure to infection, effective risk communication to HCWs, availability of personal protective equipment, job-related stress, perceived stigma and psychological impact of the isolation/quarantine and interpersonal distancing also play the major roles. Despite the huge magnitude of mental health problems among the front-line HCWs, their psychological health is often overlooked. Some of the potential measures to reduce the mental health problems of the front-line HCWs are effective communication, tangible support from the administration/seniors, mental health problem screening—and interventional—facilities, making quarantine/isolation less restrictive and ensuring interpersonal communication through the various digital platforms, proactively curtailing the misinformation/rumour spread by the media and strict legal measures against violence/ill treatment with the HCWs, and so on. India, along with other countries who lately got affected by the COVID-19, must learn from the experiences of the other countries and also from the previous pandemics as to how to address the mental health needs of their front-line HCWs and ensure HCWs’ mental well-being, thereby improving their productivity. Current review attempts to highlight the mental health aspects of the pandemic on the front-line HCWs, discusses some of the contentious issues and provides future directions particularly concerning COVID-19 in the Indian context and other low-resource countries.

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