Mental health and quality of life among healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic in India

Post Date: 
Brain and Behavior

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has placed healthcare professionals (HCP) in stressful circumstances with increased patient loads and a high risk of exposure. We sought to assess the mental health and quality of life (QoL) of Indian HCPs, the fourth highest-burden country for COVID-19.

Method: Using snowball sampling, we conducted an online survey in May 2020 among HCPs. Data were collected on demographics, depression, and anxiety using validated tools, quality of life, and perceived stressors. Multivariable logistic regression and principal component analysis were performed to assess risk factors associated with mental health symptoms.

Findings: Of 197 HCPs assessed, 157 (80%) were from Maharashtra, 130 (66%) from public hospitals, 47 (24%) nurses, 66 (34%) physicians, 101 (52%) females, and 81 (41%) ≤30 years. Eighty-seven percent provided direct COVID-19 care with 43% caring for >10 patients/day. A large proportion reported symptoms of depression (92, 47%), anxiety (98, 50%), and low QoL (89, 45%). Odds of combined depression and anxiety were 2.37 times higher among single HCPs compared to married (95% CI: 1.03-4.96). Work environment stressors were associated with 46% increased risk of combined depression and anxiety (95% CI: 1.15-1.85). Moderate to severe depression and anxiety were independently associated with increased risk of low QoL [OR: 3.19 (95% CI: 1.30-7.84), OR: 2.84 (95% CI: 1.29-6.29)].

Conclusion: Our study demonstrated a high prevalence of symptoms of depression and anxiety and low QoL among Indian HCPs during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an urgent need to prevent and treat mental health symptoms among frontline HCPs.

Suryavanshi N, Kadam A, Dhumal G, Nimkar S, Mave V, Gupta A, Cox SR, Gupte N. Mental health and quality of life among healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic in India. Brain Behav. 2020 Sep 11:e01837. doi: 10.1002/brb3.1837. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 32918403.