AJPH Highlights Health Worker Mental Health

Posted on by Thomas Cunningham, PhD
The cover of AJPH supplement including drawings of nondescript women of different races in muted tones and article information.
Image courtesy of AJPH

The American Journal of Public Health recently published a special supplement with 15 articles focusing on health worker mental health. This special issue of the journal was sponsored and edited by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and stems from the health worker mental health initiative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and NIOSH. Research indicates health workers experience high levels of physical injury, harassment, stress, and burnout and many health workers intend to leave their positions or the field altogether. Protecting and supporting health worker mental health has important implications for the nation’s health system and our public health infrastructure.

The work presented in this supplement covers three main areas of interest related to the theme of Addressing the Current Crisis and Building a Sustainable Future:

1) updated data describing concerning trends in the state of health worker mental health and well-being, including elevated levels of burnout,

2) original research and a systematic review describing evidence-informed interventions aimed at improving health worker mental health and well-being, and

3) perspectives from organizations that are taking action to make equitable, systems-level changes at the organizational, state, and national levels.

Examples of the contributions to the supplement include:

Health workers continue to face significant mental health challenges. As stated in the introductory article, Health Worker Mental Health: Addressing the Current Crisis and Building a Sustainable Future, employers, labor organizations, professional associations, government agencies, and other key players are taking action to improve health worker mental health, through training and treatment approaches. However, there is a need for more investment in primary prevention of poor mental health outcomes at the organizational and systems levels. This supplement can serve as a critical resource in supporting organizational change. This is one step in a national response to protect the mental health of health workers. Additional resources are provided below.

Thomas Cunningham, PhD, is a Senior Scientist in the NIOSH Division of Science Integration.


Impact Wellbeing | NIOSH | CDC

Health Workers Face a Mental Health Crisis | VitalSigns | CDC

Health Worker Burnout — Current Priorities of the U.S. Surgeon General

Webinar: Protecting Health Worker Mental Health: A Call-to-Action

Fundamentals of Total Worker Health Approaches

NIOSH Worker Well-Being Questionnaire (WellBQ)

Dr. Lorna Breen Heroes’ Foundation

Training: Understanding and Preventing Burnout among Public Health Workers: Guidance for Public Health Leaders

Strategies for Health Organizations – Ensuring Physical & Mental Health

Suicide Prevention Resources | AHA

Posted on by Thomas Cunningham, PhD

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Page last reviewed: February 15, 2024
Page last updated: February 15, 2024