Strategies for the Psychological Support of the Healthcare Workforce during the COVID-19 Pandemic: The ERNST Study

Adriana López-Pineda, Irene Carrillo, Aurora Mula, Sofia Guerra-Paiva, Reinhard Strametz, Susanna Tella, Kris Vanhaecht, Massimiliano Panella, Bojana Knezevic, Marius Ionut Ungureanu, Einav Srulovici, Sandra C. Buttigieg, Ivana Skoumalová, Paulo Sousa, Jose Mira, Behalf Of The Ernst Consortium Collaborators On Behalf Of The Ernst Consortium Collaborators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The COVID-19 pandemic led to the implementation of interventions to provide emotional and psychological support to healthcare workers in many countries. This ecological study aims to describe the strategies implemented in different countries to support healthcare professionals during the outbreak. Data were collected through an online survey about the measures to address the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of healthcare workers. Healthcare professionals, researchers, and academics were invited to respond to the survey. Fifty-six professionals from 35 countries contributed data to this study. Ten countries (28.6%) reported that they did not launch any national interventions. Both developed and developing countries launched similar initiatives. There was no relationship between the existence of any type of initiative in a country with the incidence, lethality, and mortality rates of the country due to COVID-19, and per capita income in 2020. The 24 h hotline for psychological support was the most frequent intervention. Tools for self-rescue by using apps or websites were extensively used, too. Other common interventions were the development of action protocols, availability of regular and updated information, implantation of distance learning systems, early detection of infection programs for professionals, economic reinforcements, hiring of staff reinforcement, and modification of leave and vacation dates.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2 May 2022


  • COVID-19
  • government programs
  • health personnel
  • mental health
  • social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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