Czech arm of the HEROES project to study mental health of health care professional during COVID pandemic

Since December 2019, the COVID-19 pandemic has generated an unprecedented pressure on the healthcare systems and workforce, magnifying the already existing problems. Health services had to expand their capacity, reallocate resources, and redeploy workers. Healthcare employees worked prolonged shifts, provided care to patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, and faced concerns of becoming ill with the virus, infecting their families, and of making difficult ethical choices, such as prioritizing patients due to lack of technical, personnel, and other resources. Consequently, the COVID-19 pandemic put an enormous emotional burden on healthcare workers, who are considered one of the most affected groups and at increased risk of poor mental health.

The project „The COVID-19 HEalth caRe wOrkErS“ (HEROES) study is a large, bottom-up, South-North initiative aimed to evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health of health care workers. The HEROES study is led at University of Chile and Columbia University in the US. It is a coordinated effort in 26 countries across 4 continents using a uniform study design and data analysis plan.

Participants complete an online questionnaire including sociodemographic data, questions on work activity, training, fears and concerns related to Covid-19, as well as validated scales on depresison, anxiety and other questions on mental health issues (e.g., suicide, acute stress), resilience and psycho/social factors (e.g., formal and informal support).

The Czech Republic has been part of this project since its beginning. Czech data collection was initiated in June 2020, with first follow-up conducted the spring of 2021. Thanks to the grant support by the Czech Ministry of Health, the Department of Epidemiology is now hosting the Czech arm of this project and the second follow-up of the Czech study is currently being performed (June 2022). The new grant is called „Caring for those who care for us: Individual predictors and intervention strategies for mental health of healthcare workers“ and its principal investigator is Dominika Šeblová, MSc., Ph.D.

The project leverages a longitudinal data collection initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic to understand predictors of mental health symptoms and disorders in healthcare workers and to pilot an intervention ameliorating the negative mental health impacts of the pandemic. The project will lead to development of preventative strategies and interventions to decrease the burden of mental health disorders in healthcare workers.


Created: 15. 6. 2022 / Modified: 15. 6. 2022 / Responsible person: MUDr. Pavla Čermáková, Ph.D.