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Italian Health Care Workers' Mental Health Suffering During COVID-19

Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety, and insomnia all common

MONDAY, June 1, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Health care workers (HCWs) in Italy who treated COVID-19 patients self-report substantial mental health symptoms, according to a research letter published online May 28 in JAMA Network Open.

Rodolfo Rossi, M.D., from University of Rome Tor Vergata, and colleagues evaluated mental health outcomes among HCWs in Italy. The online survey was conducted between March 27 and 31, 2020, and was distributed via social networks using a snowball technique and sponsored social network advertisements. The analysis included 1,379 responses.

The researchers found that 49.38 percent of respondents reported posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS); 24.73 percent reported symptoms of depression; 19.80 percent reported symptoms of anxiety; 8.27 percent reported insomnia; and 21.90 percent reported high perceived stress. Younger age and female sex were associated with all mental health outcomes except insomnia (e.g., anxiety for standardized age: odds ratio [OR], 0.60; perceived stress for standardized age: OR, 0.63; PTSS among women: OR, 2.31; depression among women: OR, 2.03). Associations were noted between having a deceased colleague and PTSS (OR, 2.60), symptoms of depression (OR, 2.07), and insomnia (OR, 2.94).

"These results are in line with previous reports from China, confirming a substantial proportion of mental health issues, particularly among young women and frontline HCWs," the authors write.

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