New JAMA Health Forum commentary discusses the importance of studying the mental health needs of health care workers responding to the unprecedented demands of caring for patients with COVID-19.
John Ayanian, director of the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, professor of internal medicine, and editor of JAMA Health Forum, published a commentary on the impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of frontline health care workers.
In the article titled “Mental Health Needs of Health Care Workers Providing Frontline COVID-19 Care,” Ayanian reviews an early study of mental health among clinicians and others caring for COVID-19 patients in China. The study found higher levels of severe mental health symptoms reported by frontline workers compared to those in secondary roles.
With the rapid global spread of COVID-19, he stresses the importance of continuous tracking of mental health symptoms among health care workers in every country affected by the pandemic.
“As the pandemic wanes in the months ahead, these [mental health] symptoms will subside for some frontline workers but persist for others,” says Ayanian. “Mental health professionals will play a vital role in addressing moderate and severe symptoms in frontline health care workers.”