Study finds distress among frontline workers remains high

August 23, 2022

Eastern Health and Deakin University have released preliminary findings from research conducted to assess the mental health and wellbeing of frontline healthcare workers over time.

From January to March 2022, 180 Australian healthcare workers across emergency departments, intensive care units, COVID wards, hospital in the home, and aged care were surveyed as part of a larger study also looking at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the family functioning of frontline healthcare workers.

Notable findings from the preliminary analysis include that the prevalence of psychological distress and poor wellbeing remained high during the survey period (at similar rates found six months’ prior), and four in five workers had experienced sleep disturbance in the past two weeks that affected either their occupational or personal life.

The survey asked additional questions about mental health support; at this timepoint, poor help-seeking behaviours were found in this cohort. Among those with psychological distress, half had not sought any help from a doctor or health professional, and only a one-third have sought support from their organisation. When a supervisor support was rated as better, participants were less likely to report psychological distress and poor wellbeing.

Click here for a snapshot of the results.

Meanwhile, another arm of the study has published a paper titled Did you bring it home with you? A qualitative investigation of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Victorian Frontline Healthcare Workers and their families. Findings from these interviews has shown that frontline healthcare workers and their families have faced considerable challenges and stress as they juggle the demands associated with frontline work and the impacts of lockdowns.