Nursing Staff Suffering Poor Mental Health

Nursing Times conducted a survey in January 2023 of almost 1,000 individuals including nurses, nursing assistants, nursing students and nursing associates. Nursing Times’ Are You OK? Campaign (previously named Covid-19: Are You OK?) aims to consider the Mental Health and Wellbeing of UK nursing staff. This survey is the third carried out as part of this campaign with the first being carried out in April 2020. The results of the most recent survey show that the mental health of nursing staff is largely at an all-time low. 


The survey reveals that two in five nursing staff feel their mental health is worse now than during the Covid-19 pandemic. When asked, over 40% of the 1,000 people surveyed said their current mental health and wellbeing were ‘bad’ or ‘very bad’.


The top factors named as affecting mental health among nursing staff were as follows:

  • Staffing challenges (79%)
  • Cost of living (65%)
  • Patient care and safety (64%)
  • Patient numbers (57%)
  • Concerns over pay (56%)

Other factors included the following:

  • Being unable to take all their breaks (45%)
  • Ongoing challenges caused by Covid-19 (39%)
  • Concerns about contracting Covid-19 and other viruses (20%)
  • Concerns about current policies on PPE use (10%)
  • Lack of sufficient PPE supplies (7%)


Unfortunately, a number of respondents also reported feeling suicidal thoughts.


Some of the comments given by nursing staff included the following:

“Recent years have required sustained high levels of resilience. I cannot sustain that level much longer – it is exhausting.”

“I worry about making mistakes or omissions due to the heavy workload. We are unable to care for our patients properly, putting lives at risk.”

“Patient numbers have risen since lockdown, but we’ve lost staff through sickness, burnout and nurses not being recruited.”

“I am not making enough money to meet utility bills once other essentials are covered. Ultimately, the majority of problems faced by nurses are due to inadequate staffing and poor management, as well as low pay.”


Stephen Jones, professional lead for mental health at the Royal College of Nursing said:

“Addressing the gaps in the nursing workforce is essential if the concerns expressed by nursing staff in this survey are to be addressed. With 47,000 vacant nurse posts in England alone, the pressures on staff will continue to overwhelm The pandemic and cost-of-living crisis are opening up many of the risk factors associated with poor mental health – something clearly reflected in this survey.”


Here at Consultus, we feel that mental health is extremely important and we acknowledge how hard it can be to manage sometimes, especially when facing external pressures. For any care or nursing staff who may be struggling with their current state of mental health, or work-life balance, we encourage you to talk to someone – whether that be a loved one, trusted friend, or mental health professional. Below are some resources which are available should you need them:

Home – Mind

Samaritans | Every life lost to suicide is a tragedy | Here to listen


For more information on the above study, please visit: Exclusive: Mental health at perilous low, warn nursing staff | Nursing Times

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