Response to NIOSH request for information on interventions to prevent work-related stress and support health worker mental health
The root causes of health care worker strain and depression include excessive job demands, extended work schedules, little decision-making opportunity, assault, bullying, and fear of injury. Potential links between working conditions and opioid overuse have also been discussed, beginning with psychological job strain or with physical pain leading to medication use. Promising solutions have been identified and many would be cost-effective, as enhanced working conditions could improve workers' mental health, job satisfaction, retention, and patient outcomes. Considering the number of health care workers leaving work during the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is urgent to address preventable root causes. In 2021, the US Congress called for educating health workers and first responders on the primary prevention of mental health conditions and substance use disorders. The CDC issued a Request for Information; this submission summarized research from CPH-NEW, a NIOSH Center of Excellence in Total Worker Health®, supplemented by a selective literature review.