Student studies mental health effects of pandemic

A school pupil from North Wales, supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Wales, has revealed the mental health pressures that frontline healthcare workers experienced in the pandemic.

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

She surveyed more than 600 healthcare workers including doctors and nurses from across the UK, who were asked about their experiences of how COVID-19 has affected mental health.

The 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 (58%), insomnia (56%), fear (49%), depressive feelings/low mood (45%) and burnout (45%) 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.

Julia’s project was part of her 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.”

Click below to read her full report and see her video abstract.

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