— “To label our current and long-standing challenge a ‘crisis’ is an understatement”
Healthcare workers reported increasing numbers of poor mental health days and increasing feelings of burnout from 2018 to 2022, although these issues were less common among those who trusted management and had help from their supervisor, a CDC study found.
“While usually health workers care diligently for others in time of need, it’s now health workers who are suffering, and we must act,” said Deborah Houry, MD, MPH, the CDC’s chief medical officer, on a phone call with reporters Tuesday.
The Vital Signs report analyzed data from the General Social Survey Quality of Worklife Module. The module contains questions on working and mental health conditions and is administered to respondents aged ≥18 years who report having been employed during the preceding 2 weeks.
L. Casey Chosewood, MD, and colleagues at the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) compared self-reported mental health symptoms among U.S. adult workers from 2018 (1,443 respondents, including 226 health workers) and 2022 (1,952 respondents, including 325 health workers). Workers were divided into three categories: health workers, other essential workers, and all other workers.
To assess how respondents perceived their working conditions, they were asked:
- Whether they trusted management
- Whether they were harassed at work
- Whether there was enough time to accomplish their work
- Whether working conditions supported productivity
- Whether supervisors were helpful
They also were asked how often there were enough staff members present to complete work, and whether the respondent participated in decision-making. And respondents were asked questions about general happiness, frequency of sleep problems, days of poor mental health during the previous 30 days — defined as stress, feeling depressed, and problems with emotions