7 out of 10 health workers suffered mental disorders during the pandemic

7 out of 10 health workers suffered mental disorders during the pandemic

SAN SALVADOR – Intermediate level stress, during the COVID-19 pandemic, impacted 79% of medical personnel in El Salvador, according to a study published by scientific journal Alertof the National Institute of Health (INS) of that country.

The study involved 121 medical workers from the emergency and hospitalization areas of the San Juan de Dios National Hospital, in eastern El Salvador, including nursing staff, clinical laboratories, radiologists, and doctors, who cared for patients infected with the virus. between September and December 2020.

“Uncertainty and exhaustion due to the long days of intense work increased the occupational risk in health service providers and evidenced the appearance of manifestations of alteration in mental health,” said the study published this year.

Maura García, who works in the public health area of ​​El Salvador, was one of those affected at the mental health level by the work pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had an area attached to the clinic, especially to care for patients with COVID-19. When I arrived in the morning and saw that the room was not enough, I felt despair. I did not know how many of these people were in serious condition and had to be transferred to a hospital. We also thought about not getting infected, that made the burden heavier,” he told the voice of america.

73% of the medical personnel under study worked more than three months in the areas of COVID-19. Magazine Alert found that work stress and mental health disorders were found mainly between the ages of 21 and 40.

“There is a correlation between the level of work stress and the level of mental health, which shows how working conditions can contribute to the development of alterations in the worker’s health with manifestations at a psychological level, especially in non-ordinary situations such as those they were experienced in the COVID-19 pandemic,” added the magazine.

A fact confirmed by Maura, who has been working in the health sector for more than 15 years. However, the fact of facing something unknown was “disconcerting”.

“I saw people die on stretchers, and the news in the world was not encouraging either. I am not a doctor, but I am sure that even the doctors were not prepared for something like what we are experiencing,” she said.

By analyzing age, gender, profession, and time working in front-line areas, the study confirmed that people between 21 and 40 years of age, women, and nursing staff with more than three months in the area, they presented higher percentages of stress and alterations in mental health.

“Most of the nursing staff are female and are the ones who spend the most time close to the patient throughout the care process, which increases the risk of exposure derived from care,” the study added.

El Salvador began to take the first measures to prevent the spread of the virus in mid-March 2020. By October, the date the study was carried out, more than 29,634 confirmed cases and 869 deaths were reported.

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Written by Editor TLN

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