The current study aimed to investigate the rates of anxiety, clinical depression, and suicidality and their changes in health professionals during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Materials and methods
The data came from the larger COMET-G study. The study sample includes 12,792 health professionals from 40 countries (62.40% women aged 39.76 ± 11.70; 36.81% men aged 35.91 ± 11.00 and 0.78% non-binary gender aged 35.15 ± 13.03). Distress and clinical depression were identified with the use of a previously developed cut-off and algorithm, respectively.
Descriptive statistics were calculated. Chi-square tests, multiple forward stepwise linear regression analyses, and Factorial Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tested relations among variables.
Clinical depression was detected in 13.16% with male doctors and ‘non-binary genders’ having the lowest rates (7.89 and 5.88% respectively) and ‘non-binary gender’ nurses and administrative staff had the highest (37.50%); distress was present in 15.19%. A significant percentage reported a deterioration in mental state, family dynamics, and everyday lifestyle. Persons with a history of mental disorders had higher rates of current depression (24.64% vs. 9.62%; p < 0.0001). Suicidal tendencies were at least doubled in terms of RASS scores. Approximately one-third of participants were accepting (at least to a moderate degree) a non-bizarre conspiracy. The highest Relative Risk (RR) to develop clinical depression was associated with a history of Bipolar disorder (RR = 4.23).
The current study reported findings in health care professionals similar in magnitude and quality to those reported earlier in the general population although rates of clinical depression, suicidal tendencies, and adherence to conspiracy theories were much lower. However, the general model of factors interplay seems to be the same and this could be of practical utility since many of these factors are modifiable.