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Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can ; 42(10): 421-430, 2022 10 12.
Article in English, French | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1912568


INTRODUCTION: This study explores the relationship between emotional support, perceived risk and mental health outcomes among health care workers, who face high rates of burnout and mental distress since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: A cross-sectional, multicentred online survey of health care workers in the Greater Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada, during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic evaluated coping strategies, confidence in infection control, impact of previous work during the 2003 SARS outbreak and emotional support. Mental health outcomes were assessed using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale, the Impact of Event Scale - Revised and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). RESULTS: Of 3852 participants, 8.2% sought professional mental health services while 77.3% received emotional support from family, 74.0% from friends and 70.3% from colleagues. Those who felt unsupported in their work had higher odds ratios of experiencing moderate and severe symptoms of anxiety (odds ratio [OR] = 2.23; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.84-2.69), PTSD (OR = 1.88; 95% CI: 1.58-2.25) and depression (OR = 1.88; 95% CI: 1.57-2.25). Nearly 40% were afraid of telling family about the risks they were exposed to at work. Those who were able to share this information demonstrated lower risk of anxiety (OR = 0.58; 95% CI: 0.48-0.69), PTSD (OR = 0.48; 95% CI: 0.41-0.56) and depression (OR = 0.55; 95% CI: 0.47-0.65). CONCLUSION: Informal sources of support, including family, friends and colleagues, play an important role in mitigating distress and should be encouraged and utilized more by health care workers.

COVID-19 , Psychological Distress , Anxiety/epidemiology , COVID-19/epidemiology , Cross-Sectional Studies , Depression/epidemiology , Health Personnel/psychology , Humans , Ontario/epidemiology , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2