The State of Mental Health in Nursing in 2022 | Trusted Health
In continuation of our nurses-first mission, Trusted is releasing its third annual report on the mental health and well-being of frontline nurses. In 2020, our report showed that nurses' mental health and well-being had already begun to significantly decline, while last year’s data highlighted the specific impact of the pandemic on nurses’ physical and mental health and how their experiences over the last two years have impacted their career plans.
As always, our goal in releasing this data is to highlight the ongoing challenges that nurses are facing in their roles and in the world at large. And as a result of the study last year, Trusted launched a Mental Health Wellness Resource Center focused on supporting the mental health and well-being of our nurses.
Nurses’ mental health has not rebounded
When asked to measure their current mental health and well-being using a scale of 1-10, nurses averaged a 5.8 in 2022. Compared to an average of 7.8 prior to the COVID-19 crisis, this represents a decline of 26% over the past two years.
While the findings indicate a very modest improvement over previous years’ studies, which found decreases of 28% and 29% respectively, this indicates that even as the most acute phase of the pandemic has subsided, nurses are feeling lasting effects of the time in crisis. The current date indicates that nurses’ mental health and well-being have not even come close to reaching their pre-COVID levels.
One in ten nurses have experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of the pandemic
The list of negative outcomes on nurses’ physical and mental health as a result of the pandemic is long and worrisome. The majority of nurses surveyed reported feelings of burnout (75%), compassion fatigue (66%), depression (64%), declines in their physical health (64%) and extreme feelings of trauma, extreme stress and/or PTSD (50%).
And in other alarming news, half of all nurses also report being the subject of an attack, intimidation or assault by a patient or his or her family, echoing wide-scale reports that violence against healthcare professionals has been on the rise.
Perhaps most disturbing is that one in ten nurses reported that they had had suicidal thoughts since the start of the pandemic, more than twice the incidence of such thoughts amongst the adult population in the U.S. as a whole.
Where nurses go for support
These concerns are compounded by the fact that nurses are unlikely to seek support at work for mental health issues that could negatively impact their ability to do their jobs. Nearly 60% of respondents said that they were either “very unlikely” or “somewhat unlikely” to share feelings of acute depression, suicidal thoughts or mental health issues with their manager or another individual at their facility.
Some of the reasons for this reluctance include concerns about confidentiality (72%), job security (69%) and a lack of effort to address the issue (64%). This finding is consistent with previous reports that have found a high degree of stigma around issues of mental health among healthcare workers.
On the other hand, nurses were somewhat more likely to seek support outside of work, with 35% reporting that they had sought care from a mental health professional.
While the COVID-19 pandemic looks different in 2022 than it did in previous years, its impacts on the nursing profession will reverberate for years to come. Our nurses have borne the brunt of much heaviness these past two years and the weight of these efforts is showing. At Trusted, we are committed to normalizing discussions around mental health and offering various ways to support you through these challenges, including providing our nurses with tools such as virtual therapy sessions through Spring Health, virtual physical therapy sessions through Physera, access to the Headspace app that focuses on guided meditations, and fitness classes and healthy lifestyle programs through Aaptiv.
If you are currently traveling, or did so during the past few years, try to arrange time off between contracts to give yourself a chance to rest, or consider taking a less acute setting for your next job. Trusted offers a non-intrusive way to explore your options at your own pace without the pressure to jump back in, giving you the space when you need or want it.
Access the Full Report
If you’d like to see more of the insights uncovered in our 2022 Frontline Nurse Mental Health Report, click here to get access to the full report.