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Mental health and well-being of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: contrasting guidelines with experiences in practice

Vera San Juan, N; Aceituno, D; Djellouli, N; Sumray, K; Regenold, N; Syversen, A; Mulcahy Symmons, S; ... Vindrola-Padros, C; + view all (2021) Mental health and well-being of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: contrasting guidelines with experiences in practice. BJPsych Open , 7 (1) , Article e15. 10.1192/bjo.2020.148. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Substantial evidence has highlighted the importance of considering the mental health of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and several organisations have issued guidelines with recommendations. However, the definition of well-being and the evidence base behind such guidelines remain unclear. AIMS: The aims of the study are to assess the applicability of well-being guidelines in practice, identify unaddressed healthcare workers' needs and provide recommendations for supporting front-line staff during the current and future pandemics. METHOD: This paper discusses the findings of a qualitative study based on interviews with front-line healthcare workers in the UK (n = 33), and examines them in relation to a rapid review of well-being guidelines developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic (n = 14). RESULTS: The guidelines placed greater emphasis on individual mental health and psychological support, whereas healthcare workers placed greater emphasis on structural conditions at work, responsibilities outside the hospital and the invaluable support of the community. The well-being support interventions proposed in the guidelines did not always respond to the lived experiences of staff, as some reported not being able to participate in these interventions because of understaffing, exhaustion or clashing schedules. CONCLUSIONS: Healthcare workers expressed well-being needs that aligned with socio-ecological conceptualisations of well-being related to quality of life. This approach to well-being has been highlighted in literature on support of healthcare workers in previous health emergencies, but it has not been monitored during this pandemic. Well-being guidelines should explore the needs of healthcare workers, and contextual characteristics affecting the implementation of recommendations.

Type: Article
Title: Mental health and well-being of healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK: contrasting guidelines with experiences in practice
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1192/bjo.2020.148
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2020.148
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: COVID-19, healthcare workers, qualitative research, rapid review, well-being
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Div of Surgery and Interventional Sci > Department of Targeted Intervention
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10117506
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