The Impact of COVID-19 on the Mental Health of Frontline Healthcare Workers Across Texas and Their Communication With the Community



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Program Affiliation: Community Health Worker Initiative - Honors Program. Background: COVID-19 is a novel disease that has ravaged the community and its frontline workers that combat it. Frontline workers also include Community Health Workers who work in close proximity with the community. Frontline workers have had to face mental health challenges such as burnout, stress, frustration, and fear of being infected. In turn, this has affected the quality of service and communication with the communities they serve. Methods: An online survey in Summer 2020 investigating the impacts of COVID-19 on frontline healthcare workers from the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Surveys were sent to community health workers via DSHS in Texas (Lorenzoni, Stühlinger, Stummer, & Raich, 2020). Results: Almost a third (31%) of the respondents reported that they experienced stress or fear of infection while working or were in need mental health aid. Twenty seven percent described having to switch to provide services virtually rather than in-person. In addition, twenty four percent of responders reported having a lack of trust or no direct contact with the community they serve. The data suggests that there is a correlation between the mental health of frontline healthcare workers and their ability to help their community. Conclusion: The experiences reported suggest that more resources to tackle mental health and communication barriers may ease the stressful conditions they are having to adapt to. More attention should be put on improving frontline worker morale in order to efficiently serve the community and provide the proper resources needed to communicate with the community.