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Mental health impact of COVID remains for doctors and patients


Survey finds stress levels for many are higher now than during height of the pandemic

stressed doc at computer ©wutzkoh-adobe.stock.com


The COVID-19 pandemic has abated, but its influence on the mental health of doctors and their patients lingers, and in some ways has gotten worse, according to results of a new survey.

Medical software producer AdvancedMD recently queried 200 of its customers—independent practice owners and physicians—about their own mental health and that of their patients. Among the results:

  • 84% said patient stress levels and mental health disorders have increased over the past three years,
  • 64% said their work-related stress levels are higher now than in 2020, and
  • 44% said they rely on exercise to manage stress

Asked about the sources of their work-related stress, 40% cited “daily responsibilities,” 31% named staffing shortages and 29% said increased patient volumes.

In a statement, Advanced MD President Amanda Hansen, called the survey results “startling.”

“The fact that stress levels have increased during the last three years for patients and the health care providers who take care of them underscores just how big of an issue behavioral health is within the health care industry and the patient populations we serve,” Hansen said.

The survey also revealed that, contrary to the advice usually offered to patients, only 15% of physician respondents said they used behavioral health therapy to manage stress.

“Behavioral health care providers will be the first to tell you that talking about stress—what’s causing it, how it is affecting your life, and all the ways it manifests during your day—is the first step to addressing mental health issues,” Hansen said. “We conducted this survey not only to better understand how stress was showing up in ambulatory care practices but also to begin a discussion with AdvancedMD users about their own stress levels.”

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