The Indonesian government publicly announced its two first COVID-19 cases on March 2, 2020. Ten days later, the World Health Organization (WHO) increased the COVID-19 status into a pandemic [1, 2], as this disease has been spreading and infecting most of the countries worldwide. In Indonesia, the total infected cases reported on May 6, 2020 was 12,438 cases with 895 deaths . Sadly, as of September 2020, 184 health care professionals died due to the pandemic .
Health personnel who demonstrated close contact with patients with COVID-19, might experience a higher risk of infection and psychological problems. Studies show that work demands and lack of social supports increase the risk of depression and job burnout [5–7]. Medical doctors and nurses are at high-risk for emotional exhaustion and infection due to disease exposure, psychological distress , and shortage in personal protective equipment [9–12]. Also, nurses who are treating critically ill patients exhibit a considerable risk of secondary traumatic stress [13–16].
The risk for anxiety, depression, and stress is significant for health professionals [17–19]. A study in Wuhan indicated that health professionals treating patients with COVID-19 are at a considerable, if not excessive, pressure due to job demands, fatigue, and frustration, accompanied by isolation and lack of contact with their family. Besides, inadequate protective equipment might lead them to contamination and infection .
Before the pandemic, health professionals were faced with a high risk for anxiety, depression, and fatigue due to their jobs [21, 22]. Researchers reported that doctors complain about experiencing anxiety (25.67%), depressive symptoms (28.13%), and both problems (19.01%) .
Styta et al. argues that the risk factors for psychologic pressure among health professionals are their perceptions on their job’s risks, working in a high-risk environment, the diseases’ effects on their working life, and the possibility for being infected by the patients . Chai et al. explained that the cause for the same condition are that the health professionals worry about their as well as their family’s safety, particularly when treating a deceased patient . Conversely, adequate and strict infection control protocol, complete safety equipment, and solemn recognition and adequate appreciation from their institutions and government on their role in managing patients with COVID-19 are essential to increasing their psychology .
Anxiety is a psychological condition characterized by cognitive, somatic, emotional, and behavior components , various severity level , and association with economic and social problems . A depressive disorder is a common mental health problem with mood or feeling disturbances, lack of interest or happiness, guilty feeling or low self-esteem, sleep disturbances, less appetite, low energy, and lousy concentration ability . Sadness and rejection are the most salient emotional symptoms in depressive disorder . Depressive signs and symptoms include depressive, guilty, and unworthy feelings, helplessness and desperation, psychomotor problems, lack of appetite, and sleep disturbances . Studies show that more than 30% of healthcare workers suffer from any of such psychological condition, and it is significantly associated with the currently more prevalent physical symptoms (e.g. headache, neck stiffness) during the Covid-19 pandemic [32, 33]. In addition, burnout syndrome, characterized by three dimensions, e.g. emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and personal accomplishment and typically occurs in helping professions such as healthcare professionals [34, 35] correlates to lack of performances [36, 37], which might further include social withdrawal [38, 39]. Indeed, studies have shown that health care workers experience high burnout prevalence rate, e,g, 11.23% among nurses and 51.00% among residents, globally [40, 41].
This study aims to explore the depressive, anxiety, and burnout symptoms among health care professionals as a risk of psychological trauma in handling Covid-19. Our study fills the still relatively large gap of this currently under researched topic . Our findings present the evidence on Indonesian health care personnel’s psychologic condition during COVID-19 pandemic, an important factor to be addressed within the policies combating the pandemic.