The Pandemic Is Not Occurring in a Vacuum: The Impact of COVID-19 and Other Disasters on Workforce Mental Health in Australia.
AuthorPodubinski, T; Glenister, KM
Source TitleDisaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness
PublisherCambridge University Press (CUP)
AffiliationRural Clinical School
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsPodubinski, T. & Glenister, K. M. (2021). The Pandemic Is Not Occurring in a Vacuum: The Impact of COVID-19 and Other Disasters on Workforce Mental Health in Australia.. Disaster Med Public Health Prep, pp.1-7. https://doi.org/10.1017/dmp.2021.238.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8446584
OBJECTIVE: Prior to coronavirus disease (COVID-19), many Australians experienced extreme bushfires, droughts, and floods. A history of experiencing these events might be a risk factor for increased psychological distress during COVID-19. This study aimed to provide insight into the mental health of Australian workers during the initial COVID-19 outbreak, with an additional focus on whether previous disaster exposure and impact from that disaster is a risk factor for increased psychological distress. METHODS: A snowball recruitment strategy was used. Participants (n = 596) completed an online survey, which included the Depression Anxiety Stress Scales-21, and questions related to mental health and disaster exposure. RESULTS: Overall, 19.2%, 13.4%, and 16.8% of participants were experiencing moderate to extremely severe depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms, respectively. Multiple regression found that higher depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms were associated with a pre-existing mental health diagnosis; only higher stress symptoms were associated with having experienced a disaster, with impact, in addition to COVID-19. CONCLUSIONS: People who have experienced impact from an additional disaster might need additional support to protect their mental health during COVID-19. A focus on the cumulative mental health impacts of multiple disasters and the implications for organizational communities where recovery work is undertaken, such as schools and workplaces, is needed.
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