Background: This study aimed at examining the impact of providing healthcare during health emergencies caused by viral epidemic outbreaks on healthcare workers'(HCWs) mental health; to identify factors associated with worse impact, and; to assess the available evidence base regarding interventions to reduce such impact.
Method: Rapid systematic review. We searched MEDLINE, Embase, and PsycINFO (inception to August 2020). We pooled data using random-effects meta-analyses to estimate the prevalence of specific mental health problems, and used GRADE to ascertain the certainty of evidence.
Results: We included 117 studies. The pooled prevalence was higher for acute stress disorder (40% (95%CI 39 to 41%)), followed by anxiety (30%, (30 to 31%)), burnout (28% (26 to 31%)), depression (24% (24 to 25%)), and post-traumatic stress disorder (13% (13 to 14%)). We identified factors associated with the likelihood of developing those problems, including sociodemographic (younger age and female gender), social (lack of social support, stigmatization), and occupational (working in a high-risk environment, specific occupational roles, and lower levels of specialised training and job experience) factors. Four studies reported interventions for frontline HCW: two educational interventions increased confidence in pandemic self-efficacy and in interpersonal problems solving (very low certainty), whereas one multifaceted intervention improved anxiety, depression, and sleep quality (very low certainty).
Limitations: We only searched three databases, and the initial screening was undertaken by a single reviewer.
Conclusion: Given the very limited evidence regarding the impact of interventions to tackle mental health problems in HCWs, the risk factors identified represent important targets for future interventions.