Health Care Workers Face Increasing Mental Health Challenges

A June 2020 study of more than 5,000 respondents found that one in five essential workers had considered suicide in the last month. Of those workers, 13% said they were using drugs (illicit and prescription) and alcohol to manage stress caused by the pandemic.

In addition to these stressors, a powerful stigma remains around mental health issues. About one in five American adults experience some kind of mental illness, yet these conditions are misunderstood by many, including those in the health care field. In fact, health care workers may be subject to an even greater stigma if they admit to mental health struggles, or seek help for them. This may be one reason for the high incidence of burnout and suicide among physicians.

One study found that more than half of physicians said their workload affected their mental health. Further, three out of four doctors had witnessed symptoms of burnout among other doctors. The rate of suicide for doctors is more than twice that of the general population and, in fact, higher than any other profession.

The accompanying resource provides additional statistics about mental health in health care workers and potentially effective management techniques.

Graphic created by Mozzaz.