HomeLatest NewsFederal NewsCDC Reports Increase in Health Worker Harassment, Poor Mental Health

CDC Reports Increase in Health Worker Harassment, Poor Mental Health

The share of health workers who reported feeling threatened or harassed by patients or others at work more than doubled between 2018 and 2022 to 13.4%, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report based on national survey data. Workers reporting harassment were five times more likely to report anxiety, three times more likely to report depression, and six times more likely to report burnout than workers who did not. About 46% of health workers reported feeling burnout often or very often in 2022, while 86% reported feeling pretty happy or very happy and 82% said their working conditions allow them to be productive. Surveyed health workers reported an average of 4.5 poor mental health days in the past month, up from 3.3 in 2018.

“In this study, we saw that when working conditions are positive, and where health workers are supported and have the potential to thrive, poor mental health outcomes were less likely,” said L. Casey Chosewood, M.D., director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Office for Total Worker Health. “Employers can make a critical difference here by taking preventive actions and improving difficult working conditions that are linked with anxiety, depression, and burnout.”

AHA strongly supports the bipartisan, bicameral Safety from Violence for Healthcare Employees (SAVE) Act, legislation that would give health care workers the same legal protections against assault and intimidation that flight crews and airport workers have under federal law. In addition, AHA’s Hospitals Against Violence and workforce initiatives offer a wide array of resources, strategies and best practices to support workforce well-being and promote a culture of safety.

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