Mental Health of Emergency Department Healthcare Workers During COVID-19 in Brooklyn, New York

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Deborah R. Gustafson Recai Yucel Samuel Apple Gianna Cirrone Haoyuan Gao Aaron Huang Xinrui Ma Ayesha Saad Jeremy Wilson Sarah Kabariti Sergey Motov


Background. Maintaining good mental health among Emergency Department healthcare workers (ED HCW) is paramount to well-functioning healthcare. We measured mental health and COVID-19 symptoms in ED HCW at a COVID-19 epicenter.

Methods. A cross-sectional, convenience sample of adult (>18 years) ED HCW in Brooklyn, New York, USA, who were employed at >50% of a full-time effort, was surveyed September–December, 2020 with reference period March-May 2020. An anonymous email-distributed survey assessed gender, age, race, healthcare worker status (clinical versus non-clinical), SARS-CoV-2 testing, number of people to talk to, COVID-19-related home problems, mental health care interruption during COVID-19, loneliness, and survey date. Outcomes included symptoms of depression, psychological distress, perceived stress, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and resilience measured using validated scales.

Results. Of 774 HCW, 247 (31.9%) responded (mean age 38.2±10.8 years; 59.4% White; 52.5% men; 80.1% clinical; 61.6% SARS-CoV-2 tested). Average mental health scores were significantly higher among clinical vs non-clinical HCW (P’s<0.0001-0.019). The proportion reporting a clinically-relevant psychological distress symptom burden was higher among clinical vs non-clinical HCW (35.8% vs 13.8%, p=0.019); and suggested for depression (53.9% clinical vs 35.7% non-clinical, p=0.072); perceived stress (63.6% clinical vs 44.8% non-clinical, p=0.053); and PTSD (18.2% clinical vs 3.6% non-clinical, p=0.064). Compared to non-clinical staff, Medical Doctors and Doctors of Osteopathy reported 4.8-fold higher multivariable-adjusted odds of clinically-relevant perceived stress (95%CI 1.8-12.9, p=0.002); Emergency Medical Technicians reported 15.5-fold higher multivariable-adjusted odds of clinically-relevant PTSD (95%CI 1.6-150.4, p=0.018). Increasing age, number of COVID-19-related home problems and people to talk to, loneliness and mental health care interruption were adversely associated with mental health; being male and SARS-CoV-2 testing were beneficial.

Conclusions. COVID-19-related mental health burden was high among ED HCW in Brooklyn. Mental health support services are essential for ED HCW.

Article Details

How to Cite
GUSTAFSON, Deborah R. et al. Mental Health of Emergency Department Healthcare Workers During COVID-19 in Brooklyn, New York. Medical Research Archives, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 7, july 2022. ISSN 2375-1924. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 30 may 2023. doi:
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