App to monitor stress among hospital workers
May 27, 2020
MONTREAL – During a pandemic, stress is a daily reality at a hospital. For healthcare workers, it has many faces: anxiety, insomnia, depression or psychological distress. In the heat of the moment, they sometimes find it hard to recognize their own symptoms of stress and alleviate them.
To help them look after their well-being, Steve Geoffrion (pictured), a researcher at the Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal, and Dr. Nicolas Bergeron, a psychiatrist and researcher at the CHUM, have launched a mobile app to self-monitor stress reactions as part of a research project.
Prior to their initiative, research had suggested that self-monitoring could reduce psychological distress in people exposed to extremely stressful events. However, no study to date has assessed the potential of self-monitoring mobile apps for healthcare workers and support staff affiliated with a healthcare institution.
To this end, the scientists will recruit 300 participants from among the employees of the CHUM, the CIUSSS de l’Est-l’Ile-de-Montréal and the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale.
For three months, these people will answer a series of questions weekly (in less than 15 minutes) about, among other things, their psychological health, their exposure to critical events and stress, and the social support that they have received. In the event that the application detects significant distress, the person will receive a notification asking them to contact the psychosocial support services available at the hospital (phone line, emergency psychosocial support unit, etc.) or external resources (1-866-APPELLE).
By analyzing the anonymous data collected during this study, the research team will be able to provide an overview of the mental health of the entire staff during a pandemic and better understand its impact on their well-being. They also hope that the tool will facilitate awareness of the challenges experienced by workers and help them get support tailored to their needs and reality.
Stéphane Guay (Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal) and Dr. Shelley-Rose Hyppolite (Public Health Office of the CIUSSS de la Capitale-Nationale) are co-investigators. Drs. Marc-Jacques Dubois and Charles Poirier (CHUM) are also collaborating on the research project. The mobile app is available on iOS and Android.