Trade Union Report Illustrates Mental Health Impacts of Working in Public Healthcare

The WHO estimated that by 2030, we will face a shortage of 18 million healthcare workers.

1 min read
[Photo: Public Services International]

Public Services International recently launched a report examining the mental health of health workers in Liberia, Brazil, Sweden, Australia, and Canada. While significant differences persist between health systems in the Global South and the Global North, many problems are shared, including long working hours, high work demands, low wages, and precarity.

People’s Health Dispatch spoke to two co-authors of the report, “Mental Health and Public Sector Healthcare: International Case Studies,” Ruth Ballardie and Vera Weghmann, to learn more about the key messages emerging from the analysis.

The “mental health of healthcare workers has been deteriorating for many years. Alongside this, we have seen increases in work-related stress,” said Ballardie. “Work-related stress has increased globally from 33 percent of workers reporting some form of work-related stress in 1990 to 44 percent reporting work-related stress in 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic then greatly exacerbated work-related stress and mental health. The increase has been happening across many occupations, but it’s been the worst for healthcare workers.”

Weghmann added, “If I had to single out one main takeaway from the report, then it’s that we are facing a global healthcare workforce crisis. To highlight just one figure—the WHO estimated that by 2030, we will face a shortage of 18 million healthcare workers.”

She continued, “There is a staff crisis which leads to more burnout because there’s too much work, the burnout leads to even more staff leaving, impacting the staff-patient ratio and making the shortage worse.”

Peoples Dispatch

Peoples Dispatch is an international media project with the mission of bringing to you voices from people’s movements and organizations across the globe.


Globetrotter is an independent international news syndication service for the people of the Global South, publishing a wide range of perspectives.

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