Many ICU staff have experienced mental health disorders in COVID-19 pandemic. On average 48 percent of participants showed signs of mental health conditions – depression, insomnia and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

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Sounds about right. Nurses are leaving bedside in massive numbers right now. Burnout was already a real issue with nursing before, and the pandemic accelerated it. We’re losing a lot of new nurses too. They were essentially tossed into the fire at the height of the pandemic.


I work in the Operating Room. During the height of the pandemic, elective surgeries were canceled and the younger nurses in the OR were sent to covid units. We cannot say no, as our local government have mandated (a province in Canada). Imagine the stress of a sudden change in your working environment, we had to adapt quickly. During that time, the patients we had in the covid floors were DNRs (do not rescucitate) from nursing homes and ICUs. So we’re dealing with deaths everyday. Up to the point where we had no choice but to leave a body inside the room for a whole shift because the morgue is full. One day I thought of giving up, stress and depression kicked me hard. I wanted to take a break, even just for a week but our good government canceled all the vacation requests of nurses because hospitals are severely understaffed (basically we lost the right to have a vacation leave). Then I remembered our nursing manager gave us a “support” hotline to call in times like this. I called only to hear “you’re so brave for doing this” “I understand you’re upset” “take time to recollect yourself” (but how? I can’t even have a one week break!) Now everything is almost back to normal here, and I’m back in the OR. I saw in the news that our provincial government is refusing the salary increase of nurses being proposed by our union. Meanwhile, they gave a budget boost (millions!) to a non-essential sector (the office dudes).


I just graduated internal medicine residency this past month. Basically spent the past year dealing with COVID non-stop until about March when things started tapering down prior to the new influx. Me and my some of my co-residents were hanging out before we graduated, and each of us were talking about how we all had a mental breakdown at some point. What a lot of people don’t realize is that when we were taking care of these patients in the hospital, visitors weren’t allowed. So that meant first being able to find a family member to call, and then explaining to them over the phone that their loved one was dying. This was for ALL our patients. Now imagine the wrench that gets thrown into this process when a patient or their family doesn’t speak English and needs a translator. It got to a point that we were having to facetime families from outside the room when it came to end-of-life care. All of us: physicians, RNs, RTs, etc are all exhausted from this and the psychological impact of this will last for years. I’m not so sure we are equipped mentally to deal with another wave of this.


It is important to acknowledge that the majority of ICU and ED RNs carried undiagnosed PTSD *at baseline* prior to COVID and all its attendant stressors. Mental health amongst healthcare professionals is still so poorly discussed that just this year I heard colleagues discussing another colleague seeking therapy for PTSD specifically and they sounded aghast. All of them have therapists but they still seemed surprised/like it was some other major deal!


My wife and I are both respiratory therapists. To say we have suffered from mental disorders due to Covid is beyond an understatement. While we appreciate the applause last year, it doesn’t help with the PTSD or depression or the crippling student debts we have, or the mortgage of a fucked housing market. Sorry for the rant. It’s nice to hear we’re not alone in our despair & discouragement.