Prevalence and correlates of anxiety and depression in frontline healthcare workers treating people with COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Background: Healthcare workers (HCWs) who are in the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic are often under significant pressures which may predispose them to mental ill-health. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of anxiety and depression among HCWs and factors correlated with mental problems during the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted between July and August 2020. A self-reported online questionnaire was utilized to collect data. The survey included questions concerning socio-demographic, lifestyle, and work setting and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS). Results: Data from 803 HCWs (50.7% male; mean age: 27.3 [SD=6.9]; age range: 18-58 years) were included in analyses. Prevalence estimates of anxiety and depression were, respectively, 69.5% and 39.5% for at least borderline abnormal, 41.2% and 15.7% for at least abnormal symptoms. Regression analyses with HADS-score as dependent variable revealed significant (p<0.05) associations with female sex, moderate and poor health status, irregular physical exercising, smoking, having had regrets about their profession because of the pandemic and many unexpected experiences, not updating on the latest COVID-19-related research, experiencing discrimination in the workplace, and facing social problems due to working in a lab or hospital. Conclusions: Symptoms of mental ill-health are prevalent among HCWs during the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh. The findings suggest a need for monitoring and early interventions to help these individuals.
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