Dr James Gilleen delivers keynote address on supporting the mental health of NHS Staff

  • Wednesday, April 27, 2022

At the Institute of Government and Public Policy's "Supporting the Mental Health of NHS Staff 2022” event, Dr James Gilleen discussed the COVIDA research project which examined the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on NHS healthcare workers’ mental health and wellbeing.

Image - Dr James Gilleen delivers keynote address on supporting the mental health of NHS Staff

The event brought together senior leaders from across the health sector, Government, academia and the wider public sector to hear the latest policy updates across the industry and address the challenges facing the sector in these unprecedented times.

The groundbreaking COVIDA study, led by Dr Gilleen, found that detrimental mental health symptoms quadrupled across NHS healthcare workers during the first wave of Covid-19. In the address, Dr Gilleen discussed the widespread and significant levels of anxiety, depression, stress and PTSD symptoms in a large sample of healthcare workers from the first wave of the pandemic and how these were linked to controllable factors reflecting elevated personal risk and threat, such as lack of sufficient PPE and training. He also set out the fixed factors that increased the risk of severe psychiatric symptoms such as NHS workplace roles, gender and ethnic background, as well as recommendations for retaining or improving the mental health and wellbeing of NHS staff in future pandemics.

Dr Gilleen, Senior Lecturer in our School of Psychology said “It is critical we continue to raise awareness of the profound impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had - and continues to have - on the mental health and well-being of NHS healthcare workers. We aim to do precisely this with the on-going work we are doing with the COVIDA project in terms of understanding the residual, long-term effects on symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression that healthcare staff continue to experience, and in developing novel interventions to reduce them.”

You can read more about the research here.