January 2020 was when WHO declared the outbreak of a new global pandemic. For more than a year news television channels, newspapers and social media has been filled with the word ‘COVID-19’. Every day we wake up hoping for a miracle, hoping for the world to go back to normal peaceful days but so far, the condition is still a rollercoaster. It is very natural for a person to undergo a wave of emotions during this testing period, the overwhelming emotions we feel right now are a mixture of fear, anxiety, and confusion.
But more than the normal people, there is a section of the society that is the reason we have been able to survive this pandemic and that is our Healthcare workers. The year 2020 was declared as the Year of Nurses and Midwives by the WHO, but little did they know what the world had in store for them. The entire healthcare sector was astounded as they battled against this terrifying pandemic, with no cure and minimal treatment. The mental health of nurses was and are at a high risk as they fight this terrifying virus. A study conducted by the International Council of Nurses revealed that “there is strong evidence that nurses are experiencing unprecedented levels of stress,” going on to say that nurses are at “high-risk for full-blown stress response syndromes, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, chronic illness and burnout.” (WHO., 2020 ). Nurses’ mental health has deteriorated as a result of a lack of childcare, as well as financial stress, prolonged shifts with little meals, personal safety equipment shortages, as well as the deaths of patients and colleagues.
Before the start of the pandemic a study was conducted by the Society of Occupational Medicine to understand how the mental health of the healthcare workers are affected due to the high demand for them in the UK. This study then revealed that healthcare workers and especially nurses are experiencing high levels of stress, other mental health problems, and burnout. At present, the world demands need for continuous care from healthcare workers and this raises significant threats to their mental health. Prolonged shifts, along with fewer opportunities for rest and recovery, can be harmful to their mental health and well-being. During the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak, healthcare personnel are subjected to increased psychological stress and, in some cases, mental disease.
For the past One year researchers and psychologists have aimed at understanding the effect the pandemic has had on the mental health of healthcare workers. According to the research thus far, female nurses who have frequent interaction with COVID-19 patients may benefit the most from psychological well-being activities. However, variations in findings and a paucity of data collected outside of hospital settings imply that while addressing psychological well-being in health and social care workers, we should not exclude any groups.
To ensure health and optimum job performance, adequate opportunities to recover emotionally and physically from the job are essential. More focus has to be given to finding ways to help healthcare workers recover both emotionally and physically during these tough times. We encourage policymakers and managers to adopt support, encouragement and inspiration, protection, and training, and educational interventions, especially through telecommunications platforms.