COVID-19 Pandemic Support Programs for Healthcare Workers and Implications for Occupational Mental Health: A Narrative Review

Eden David, Jonathan M. DePierro, Deborah B. Marin, Vanshdeep Sharma, Dennis S. Charney, Craig L. Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

This narrative review aims to summarize initiatives developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to support healthcare workers’ emotional well-being within the context of a pre-existing framework of occupational mental health guidelines. This occupational mental health framework integrates principles from multiple disciplines to optimize prevention and management of mental health issues among employees. We conducted an online search on Medline/PubMed, Cochrane Library, and Embase for studies that reported on design or execution of medical institution-based interventions, aiming to support healthcare worker mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Inclusion criteria was intentionally broad in order to incorporate as many types of interventions at varying stages of development or evaluation. We included 31 studies in our review that reported on newly designed psychological support interventions for healthcare workers (HCW) during the COVID-19 pandemic. We found that most programs commonly supported HCW mental health through offering one or more of the following initiatives: expanded basic need resources/services, additional workplace training programs that bolstered professional preparedness while also indirectly boosting HCW emotional health, and/or expanded psychological support programs, such as peer support programs, psychoeducational or counseling services. Most programs, however, did not consider methods to ensure program longevity or sustainability. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the acuity of HCW mental health issues and is likely to leave long lasting mental health strains among HCW. This pandemic is a critical point in time to catalyze much needed progress in reducing stigma and expanding HCW mental health care access.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)227-247
Number of pages21
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Volume93
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Healthcare worker mental health intervention
  • Mental health
  • Psychological support programs

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