CDC: 25% of Public Healthcare Workers Report Threats, Depression

CDC: 25% of Public Healthcare Workers Report Threats, Depression healthcare worker wearing ppe and latex gloves (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

By David Volz | Monday, 28 June 2021 11:42 AM

The CDC reports that about 25% of public health workers feel bullied, threatened, and abused because of their work during the pandemic.

This matters because it is consistent with anecdotes on how politics, public attitudes, and general burnout affect the mental health of many public health professionals and have caused some to leave, according to Axios.

Of 26,174 public health workers surveyed in the U.S., 23% said they had been threatened or harassed and 11.8% said they had been threatened because of their job.

More than half reported symptoms of at least one mental health problem, with 37% reporting symptoms over the previous two weeks similar to PTSD, 32% feeling depressed, 30% reporting anxiety, and 8% feeling suicidal.

These results were worse among those who were unable to take time off and worked more than 41 hours per week, and even higher for those 29 and younger. About 75% experienced traumatic stress and feeling overwhelmed.

Most respondents said they worked directly on COVID-19 responses.

"The prevalences of all four mental health outcomes and the severity of symptoms of depression or PTSD increased as the percentage of work time spent directly on COVID-19 response activities and number of work hours in a typical week increased," the study shows, according to U.S. News & World Report.

The study indicated that prevention and control practices that eliminate and reduce workplace factors that cause public health workers’ adverse mental health status could improve mental heath outcomes during a public health emergency.

Unlike regular medicine, where doctors and nurses treat people who are sick and injured, public health workers goals are expanded to prevent disease and injury. This includes tracking sources of disease, nutritionists promoting healthy eating habits and lab techs testing specimens, according to the Daily Mail.

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