Well known ER doctor at New York-Presbyterian Hospital who battled and defeated COVID-19, Dr. Lorna Breen takes her own life and this just sheds more light on the grim state of mental health affecting healthcare workers.
Dr. Lorna Breen’s father told NBC, “Like the many heroes that are still there, she was in every way in the trenches of this war, fighting this effect of this COVID virus that she contracted herself.” Dr. Breen survived the virus but it was the grueling effect of the virus on those around her that took a toll on her mental health.
Dr. Jeff Le from Maimonides Medical Center said, “If I had known the type of emotional havoc it would have caused on my life, the lives of my colleagues and my patients.”
COVID-19 Is Causing Medical Mental Health Crises Among Health Care Workers
As with any war, the fight against COVID-19 isn’t just the people we lose to the virus but also the tremendous toll it takes on the minds of many of those who do survive.
It will be years before the mental health toll of the COVID-19 will fully be understood, but some early data from China is gutting.
A study published on March 23 in the medical journal JAMA found that, among 1,257 healthcare workers working with COVID-19 patients in China, 50.4% reported symptoms of depression, 44.6% symptoms of anxiety, 34% insomnia, and 71.5% reported distress.
Nurses and other frontline workers were among those with the most severe symptoms. This just sheds more light on the mental health crises impacting our healthcare workers as they take care of us.