Frontline healthcare workers suffered from mental health difficulties in first few months of pandemic – unique study by Welsh student reveals

Wales news
29 July 2022

Frontline healthcare workers suffered from a range of mental health difficulties in the first few months of the pandemic, unique new research has revealed.

More than 600 healthcare workers including doctors and nurses from across the UK, were asked about their experiences as the Covid-19 crisis took hold.

The study is even more unique as it was compiled by a school pupil from North Wales and supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales.

Results reveal more than 95% had suffered some level of mental health difficulties with anxiety topping the list at nearly 69%.

This was followed by exhaustion (nearly 58%), insomnia (more than 55%), depressive feelings/low mood (nearly 45%) and loneliness (more than 30%) amongst other symptoms.

When asked what had contributed to these difficulties, 64% said it was concerns of infecting friends or family while 46% had concerns about being infected.

More than 42% said miscommunication by government had an effect their mental health.

The research was undertaken by Julia Bugelli (18) - a year 12 student from Ysgol Uwchradd Glan Clwyd in St Asaph, North Wales.

The project was part of Julia’s final year studies and she now hopes to progress with a career in medicine and will attend Cardiff University after the summer. She said:

“The study was real eye-opener for me, and I’d like to thank everyone who gave up their time to complete the survey during such a busy period.

“I’d also like to thank the RCPsych Wales for their encouragement and hope the outcome of this survey leads to further mental health support for healthcare workers.”

Professor Alka Ahuja MBE, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist from the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales, said:

“This study reveals the difficulties that faced by our frontline workforce and shows the pressure they were working under as the Covid-19 crisis took hold.

“As we slowly rebuild, we hope that these findings are taken into consideration for workforce planning around future pandemics.

“In the meantime, I would like to congratulate Julia for a well thought out and useful research study. She has a bright future ahead of her and we wish her the very best.”

The full report and video abstract has been published and is available.

For further information, please contact: