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      Prioritizing the Mental Health and Well-Being of Healthcare Workers: An Urgent Global Public Health Priority

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          Abstract

          The COVID-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on health systems in most countries, and in particular, on the mental health and well-being of health workers on the frontlines of pandemic response efforts. The purpose of this article is to provide an evidence-based overview of the adverse mental health impacts on healthcare workers during times of crisis and other challenging working conditions and to highlight the importance of prioritizing and protecting the mental health and well-being of the healthcare workforce, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. First, we provide a broad overview of the elevated risk of stress, burnout, moral injury, depression, trauma, and other mental health challenges among healthcare workers. Second, we consider how public health emergencies exacerbate these concerns, as reflected in emerging research on the negative mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare workers. Further, we consider potential approaches for overcoming these threats to mental health by exploring the value of practicing self-care strategies, and implementing evidence based interventions and organizational measures to help protect and support the mental health and well-being of the healthcare workforce. Lastly, we highlight systemic changes to empower healthcare workers and protect their mental health and well-being in the long run, and propose policy recommendations to guide healthcare leaders and health systems in this endeavor. This paper acknowledges the stressors, burdens, and psychological needs of the healthcare workforce across health systems and disciplines, and calls for renewed efforts to mitigate these challenges among those working on the frontlines during public health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

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          Most cited references91

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          Prevalence of depression, anxiety, and insomnia among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis

          Highlights • At least one in five healthcare professionals report symptoms of depression and anxiety. • Almost four in 10 healthcare workers experience sleeping difficulties and/or insomnia. • Rates of anxiety and depression were higher for female healthcare workers and nursing staff. • Milder mood symptoms are common and screening should aim to identify mild and sub-threshold syndromes.
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            Job burnout.

            Burnout is a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job, and is defined by the three dimensions of exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficacy. The past 25 years of research has established the complexity of the construct, and places the individual stress experience within a larger organizational context of people's relation to their work. Recently, the work on burnout has expanded internationally and has led to new conceptual models. The focus on engagement, the positive antithesis of burnout, promises to yield new perspectives on interventions to alleviate burnout. The social focus of burnout, the solid research basis concerning the syndrome, and its specific ties to the work domain make a distinct and valuable contribution to people's health and well-being.
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              Managing mental health challenges faced by healthcare workers during covid-19 pandemic

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Front Public Health
                Front Public Health
                Front. Public Health
                Frontiers in Public Health
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                2296-2565
                07 May 2021
                2021
                07 May 2021
                : 9
                : 679397
                Affiliations
                [1] 1Independent Researcher , Oslo, Norway
                [2] 2Department of Global Health and Social Medicine and Harvard Medical School , Boston, MA, United States
                [3] 3Mental Health Foundation , London, United Kingdom
                [4] 4Department of Global Health and Population, School of Public Health, Harvard University , Boston, MA, United States
                [5] 521HealthStreet , London, United Kingdom
                [6] 6Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Health Systems and Public Health, University of Pretoria , Pretoria, South Africa
                [7] 7Danish Committtee for Health Education , Copenhagen, Denmark
                Author notes

                Edited by: Sujita Kumar Kar, King George's Medical University, India

                Reviewed by: Anne M. Doherty, University College Dublin, Ireland; Amit Singh, National AIDS Control Organisation, India; Debanjan Banerjee, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), India

                *Correspondence: Lene E. Søvold lene.sovold@ 123456gmail.com

                This article was submitted to Public Mental Health, a section of the journal Frontiers in Public Health

                Article
                10.3389/fpubh.2021.679397
                8137852
                34026720
                5f15f5a9-2816-441f-a690-7a62de3d6768
                Copyright © 2021 Søvold, Naslund, Kousoulis, Saxena, Qoronfleh, Grobler and Münter.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

                History
                : 11 March 2021
                : 12 April 2021
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 101, Pages: 12, Words: 11261
                Categories
                Public Health
                Perspective

                mental health,healthcare workers,covid-19,public health emergencies,burnout,self-care,psychological interventions,healthcare policies

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