The World Health Organisation has recently declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic (Coronavirus disease 2019 Situation Report – 41). The rapid transmission rates and clinical impact on patients' health have brought national health systems and its health workers under unprecedented burden (1–3) raising anxiety, stress, and depression and reducing their well-being. This is critical as evidence suggests worsening of mental health in health workers reduces quality of care they provide and also promotes absenteeism or even resignations. Changes in mental health wellbeing during pandemics may be linked to specific risk or protective factors - and there is intrinsic value in understanding these. Recent work from China on health workers (4) revealed elevated anxiety, depression, insomnia and trauma – however given the key differences in Chinese and UK health systems, and shortfalls in that study suggest new research should urgently be done in the UK to understand the impact of COVID on NHS and non-NHS health workers. We will conduct a large online survey (completed via phone or computer) in which NHS and non-NHS health workers rate their anxiety, depression, mood, and trauma etc. The severity of these symptoms at baseline will be determined and critically how these have changed since before COVID; and in a follow-up analysis, how these change further as the pandemic evolves. Associations with putative risk and protective factors will be quantified. Understanding the psychological impact of pandemics on health workers, as well as its risk and protective factors, can help to guide strategies for responding to mental health sequelae in this and future epidemics, may protect health workers, and in turn protect the quality of care received by patients.
1. Guan W, Ni Z, Hu Y, Liang W, Ou C, He J, et al. Clinical Characteristics of Coronavirus Disease 2019 in China. New England Journal of Medicine. 2020 Feb 28;0(0).
2. Lo D, De Angelis M. COVID-19: protecting health-care workers.
3. Remuzzi A, Remuzzi G. COVID-19 and Italy: what next? The Lancet. 2020;
4. Lai J, Ma S, Wang Y, Cai Z, Hu J, Wei N, et al. Factors Associated With Mental Health Outcomes Among Health Care Workers Exposed to Coronavirus Disease 2019. JAMA Netw Open. 2020 Mar 2;3(3):e203976–e203976.
Dr James Gilleen– PhD, MSc, BSC. COVIDA Study Co-Principal Investigator and also working as a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Roehampton University.
Dr Montserrat Fusté– LMS, MSc, PhD, CCT. General Adult psychiatry, COVIDA Study Co-Principal Investigator also working as a Perinatal Consultant Psychiatrist in NEFLT NHS trust as well as visiting researcher at King's College London.
Dr Lorena Valdearenas– LMS, MSc, CESR CP. Dual Old Age & Adult Psychiatry, COVIDA Study researcher also working as a Liaison and Older Adult Psychiatrist for BEH MH Trust in North Middlesex University Hospital.
Dr Aida Santaolalla– PhD, MSc, BSc. COVIDA Study data scientist also working as a senior data scientist in Translational Oncology and Urology Research Group in King’s College London.
Dr Clara Salice– MBBS BSc. COVIDA research assistant also working as a Foundation Year 1 doctor at Barts NHS Trust and currently re-deployed to provide acute medical care to Covid-19 patients.
Ms Natasha Ramachandran– BSC in psychology doing her MSc at UCL and working as a COVIDA research project student.