K.S.WONG1, J.SEAH1, G.TEO1, J.Q.NG1, A.LUM1
Institute of Mental Health1
COVID-19 has stressed healthcare systems and workers worldwide. GPs, as first points of contact between suspected cases and the healthcare system, have assumed frontline roles in this crisis. While the prevalence of mental health problems and illnesses arising in healthcare workers (HCWs) from tertiary care settings during the COVID-19 pandemic is well-examined, the impact on GPs remains understudied. We therefore aimed to describe the prevalence and predictors of anxiety, burnout, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among GPs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
GPs completed a survey that comprised of four validated psychometric instruments. Open- ended questions asked about responders’ challenges and their envisaged support. Data were analysed with multiple logistic regression with demographic data as covariates; concepts of grounded theory were used to analyse the qualitative responses.
A total of 257 GPs participated. 55 (21.4%) met the scales’ criteria for anxiety, 211 (82.1%) for burnout, 68 (26.6%) for depression, and 23 (8.9%) for PTSD. Multivariate regression analysis showed working in a public primary care setting was associated with anxiety and depression. Qualitative analyses uncovered possible stressors: changes to clinical and operational practices; increased workloads; and financial difficulties.
Mental health issues were found to be present in Singaporean GPs during the pandemic. Prevalence of anxiety, burnout, and depression were found to be higher than those reported pre- COVID-19. The findings also provide determinants of the issues that serve as possible foci for targeted interventions.