Post Publication Independent Review of

"Mental health care for medical staff in China during the COVID-19 outbreak"

Post Publication Independent Review of "Mental health care for medical staff in China during the COVID-19 outbreak"

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Post Publication Independent Review of

Mental health care for medical staff in China during the COVID-19 outbreak

Qiongni Chen, Mining Liang, Yamin Li, Jincai Guo, Dongxue Fei, Ling Wang et al.

Published: February 18, 2020 DOI:

Review Comments:

1. Quote "The Second Xiangya Hospital—workplace of the chairman of the Psychological Rescue Branch of the Chinese Medical Rescue Association—and the Institute of Mental Health, the Medical Psychology Research Center of the Second Xiangya Hospital, and the Chinese Medical and Psychological Disease Clinical Medicine Research Center responded rapidly to the psychological pressures on staff." End of Quote.

The Authors bring out an essential aspect of the entire COVID-19 containment and treatment protocols, viz., "Psychological Rescue" for Medical Staff (Doctors, Nurses, Allied Medical Staff, Volunteers, etc.) involved in COVID-19 containment and treatment protocols. The Medical Staff stand on the first line of service with the COVID-19 patients, screening populations, etc. If the Medical Staff get overwhelmed, the first line of service can start get deficiencies, which might even affect the entire COVID-19 containment and treatment protocols. Hence, it is essential that Medical Staff are provided Quality Psychological Rescue to cope up with the stress of the COVID-19 containment and treatment.

2. Quote "A detailed psychological intervention plan was developed, which mainly covered the following three areas: building a psychological intervention medical team, which provided online courses to guide medical staff to deal with common psychological problems; a psychological assistance hotline team, which provided guidance and supervision to solve psychological problems; and psychological interventions, which provided various group activities to release stress. " End of Quote.

The text speaks for itself.

3. Quote "However, the implementation of psychological intervention services encountered obstacles, as medical staff were reluctant to participate in the group or individual psychology interventions provided to them. Moreover, individual nurses showed excitability, irritability, unwillingness to rest, and signs of psychological distress, but refused any psychological help and stated that they did not have any problems." End of Quote. This would exhibit as strange behaviour, but the reasons that follow in the next paragraphs are thought provoking.

4. Quote "First, getting infected was not an immediate worry to staff—they did not worry about this once they began work. Second, they did not want their families to worry about them and were afraid of bringing the virus to their home. Third, staff did not know how to deal with patients when they were unwilling to be quarantined at the hospital or did not cooperate with medical measures because of panic or a lack of knowledge about the disease. Additionally, staff worried about the shortage of protective equipment and feelings of incapability when faced with critically ill patients. Many staff mentioned that they did not need a psychologist, but needed more rest without interruption and enough protective supplies. Finally, they suggested training on psychological skills to deal with patients' anxiety, panic, and other emotional problems and, if possible, for mental health staff to be on hand to directly help these patients." End of Quote.

The points raised by the Medical Staff are something that every Nation needs to attend to, right from the very beginning; as the Medical Staff play the pivotal role in containing and treating COVID-19. Only when the Medical Staff are empowered to handle the concerns, they will be able to serve well, and also help maintain themselves to continue the service that is most valuable.

5. Quote "Accordingly, the measures of psychological intervention were adjusted. First, the hospital provided a place for rest where staff could temporarily isolate themselves from their family. The hospital also guaranteed food and daily living supplies, and helped staff to video record their routines in the hospital to share with their families and alleviate family members' concerns. Second, in addition to disease knowledge and protective measures, pre-job training was arranged to address identification of and responses to psychological problems in patients with COVID-19, and hospital security staff were available to be sent to help deal with uncooperative patients. Third, the hospital developed detailed rules on the use and management of protective equipment to reduce worry. Fourth, leisure activities and training on how to relax were properly arranged to help staff reduce stress. Finally, psychological counsellors regularly visited the rest area to listen to difficulties or stories encountered by staff at work, and provide support accordingly." End of Quote.

These and other relevant measures may immediately be deployed Nationwide, by all Nations that are fighting COVID-19.

6. Quote "The learning from these psychological interventions is expected to help the Chinese government and other parts of the world to better respond to future unexpected infectious disease outbreaks." End of Quote.

True, the authors have provided valuable insight into an important part of the COVID-19 containment and treatment process, which can also be utilized for any other similar outbreaks in future too.

Hope, all Nations will immediately improve or modify their processes suitably to bring these findings of the authors into the COVID-19 containment and treatment processes.

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