Aim: To identify the impact of severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2 (COVID-19) on the mental health status of occupational therapy (OT) practitioners providing direct patient care.

Methods: The researchers administered a survey to identify OT practitioners’ perceptions of mental health prior to and during the pandemic. The survey was posted online via a link on social media pages related to occupational therapy professional groups. Participants completed the self-administered survey consisting of 16 questions. Some participants provided narrative responses to select survey questions, which asked about their mental health prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Results: One hundred and two participants completed the survey. Survey respondents included a mixture of occupational therapy assistant (OTA) and OT practitioners with varying levels of experience across a variety of settings. Results indicated that 33.3% of the respondents experienced no challenges prior to the pandemic, whereas only 7.8% reported no challenges with their mental health during the pandemic. Overall, 65.7% participants indicated that there have been changes to their mental health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; 81.4% participants identified feelings of burnout. Furthermore, 55.9% participants identified successful coping strategies while providing care during the pandemic, some of which were identified in detail throughout our study.

Conclusion: OT practitioners who provided direct patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic reported mental health challenges, such as increased levels of stress and anxiety. Despite reports of increased mental health challenges, OT practitioners participating in the study have identified coping techniques to combat mental health challenges. Further research is needed to expand on this topic, as there is limited research surrounding the perceptions of OT practitioners regarding their mental health while providing direct patient care during the COVID-19 pandemic.



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