• Description

The COVID-19 pandemic led to worsening mental health in the US population, with the mental health of health care workers responding to COVID-19 being particularly vulnerable. The governmental public health workforce has played an essential role in responding to the pandemic, particularly in keeping public health systems and infrastructure afloat to sustain the increased demand for health services. Yet, the influence of the pandemic on the mental health of the public health workforce has been less studied than has the impact on other health professions.

Elevated symptoms of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) during the COVID-19 pandemic have been well documented. In March through April 2020, 22% of US adults reported symptoms of PTSD. Furthermore, a survey of state, tribal, local, and territorial public health workers fielded in the spring of 2021 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that more than one-third (36.8%) of respondents reported symptoms of PTSD; however, this study was limited through its use of a non–probability-based convenience sample.

This research brief estimates the prevalence of elevated levels of COVID-19–related posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) in the governmental public health workforce compared with estimates in the US general adult population in 2021.

Symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Governmental Public Health Workforce and General Population