Global Healthcare: Psychological Distress and Anxiety

Global health crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, confront healthcare workers (HCW) with increased exposure to potentially morally distressing events. The pandemic has surfaced the moral distress, moral resilience, and emergence of mental health symptoms in HCWs.

In late December 2019, a new viral outbreak took root in Wuhan city, Hubei province, China. This severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-COV-2) virus spread rapidly throughout China and spread to other countries soon thereafter (13). On February 11th 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the disease resulting from the virus “COVID-19” (Coronavirus Disease 2019, also known as 2019-nCoV) .

Both frontline and non-frontline healthcare workers were required to work tirelessly in stressful environments with limited resources and therefore experienced negatively psychological impacts from the virus. Frontline healthcare workers more frequently interacted with COVID-19 patients despite the virus being more deadly and transmissible than previous epidemics. Consequently, frontline workers may be more susceptible to psychological impacts—including fear, anxiety, and depression—during the viral outbreak than non-frontline workers.

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