Mental health among healthcare providers during coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Saudi Arabia.J Infect Public Health. 2020 Oct; 13(10):1432-1437.JI
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was recently declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO). The first confirmed case in Saudi Arabia was announced on March 2, 2020. Several psychiatric manifestations may appear during pandemics, especially among frontline healthcare providers.
This study sought to explore depression and anxiety levels among healthcare providers during the COVID-19 outbreak in Saudi Arabia.
This was a cross-sectional study of a convenience sample of 502 healthcare providers in the Ministry of Health. Depression and anxiety were assessed via the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) questionnaires, respectively.
The respondents represented various healthcare occupations: administrators (28.49%), nurses (26.29%), physicians (22.11%), non-physician specialists (13.94%), technicians (6.77%), and pharmacists (2.30%). The majority of them were male (68.1%). More than half of them had depressive disorder (55.2%), which ranged from mild (24.9%), moderate (14.5%), and moderately severe (10%) to severe (5.8%). Half of the sample had generalized anxiety disorder (51.4%), which ranged from mild (25.1%) and moderate (11%) to severe (15.3%). Multivariate analysis showed that males were significantly less predicted to have anxiety (Beta=-0.22, P-value <0.04), 30-39 years age group were significantly more predicted to have depression and anxiety group (Beta=0.204, P-value <0.001 and beta=0.521, P-value <0.003 respectively), and nurses had significantly higher mean score of anxiety (Beta=0.445, P-value <0.026).
This study revealed that depression and anxiety are prevailing conditions among healthcare providers. Although efforts were accelerated to support their psychological well-being, more attention should be paid to the mental health of female, 30-39 age group and nursing staff. Promoting healthcare service as a humanitarian and national duty may contribute to making it a more meaningful experience in addition to advocating for solidarity, altruism, and social inclusion. Longitudinal research studies need to be conducted to follow up on healthcare providers' mental health symptoms and develop evidence-based interventions.