The study paper published in Indian Journal of Psychiatric Nursing by G Balamurugan, G Radhakrishnan and M Vijayarani, says that fear, burnout, anxiety, fatigue, stress, depression and insomnia were some common mental health issues faced by the Indian nurses at that time.
The coronavirus pandemic broke out in the country in March 2020.
“The common mental health issues experienced by the Indian nurses were fear, burnout, anxiety and fatigue, followed by stress, depression, insomnia and work-life imbalance. Similar kinds of mental health issues were experienced by nurses around the world. Other issues included mental fatigue, phobia, grief, insecurity and helplessness,” the study said.
Referring to the findings of this study during a press conference in Panaji on Thursday, the Indian Society of Psychiatric Nurses (ISPN) has said the plight of nurses in India needs to be highlighted.
ISPN president K Reddemma said the Covid-19 pandemic had a serious bearing on the mental health of the nurses.
“During Covid-19 pandemic, the nurses stood by the patients. Due to the PPE kits they wore, they were not even able to breathe properly or step out of hospitals,” she said.
The ISPN office-bearers are in Goa to take part in a three-day annual conference beginning Friday at the Institute of Nursing Education in Bambolim.
Reddemma said that in order to pay tributes to nurses for their work during the Covid-19 pandemic, World Health Day on April 7, 2023 will also be observed as ‘Samarpan Day’ (Dedication Day).
Radhakrishnan, who has co-authored the research paper highlighting the mental issues faced by nurses during the pandemic, said that the ISPN and Indian Nursing Council (INC) had supported these health care personnel fighting the Covid-19 battle during the second wave.
A list of mental health nursing volunteers along with their phone number, preferred language and preferred time was mentioned on the INC website as well as on the ISPN India website, he said.
G Balamurgan, who has also co-authored the research paper, said, “Between May and August 2021, these mental health nursing volunteers received around 177 calls. During May and June 2021, there was an upward trend in the number of calls. After that the number of calls started going down gradually.”
“This trend is correlated with the number of Covid-19 cases in India during the second wave, which shows that the caseload was directly affecting the nurses’ mental health,” he added.