Post-traumatic stress disorder among the staff of a mental health hospital: Prevalence and risk factors
Background: Mental health service providers are frequently exposed to stress and violence in the line of duty. There is a dearth of data concerning the psychological sequelae of the frequent exposure to stress and violence, especially among those who work in resource-limited countries such as Botswana.
Aim: To determine the prevalence and predictors of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among mental health workers in a tertiary mental health institute in Botswana.
Setting: The study was conducted in Sbrana Psychiatric Hospital, which is the only referral psychiatric hospital in Botswana.
Methods: The study used a descriptive cross-sectional design. A total of 201 mental health workers completed a researcher-designed psycho-socio-demographic questionnaire, which included one neuroticism item of the Big Five Inventory, and a PTSD Checklist-Civilian Version (PCL-C), which was used to assess symptoms of PTSD.
Results: Majority of the study participants were general nurses (n = 121, 60.5%) and females (n = 122, 60.7%). Thirty-seven (18.4%) of the participants met the criteria for PTSD. Exposure to violence in the past 12 months (AOR = 3.26; 95% CI: 1.49–7.16) and high neuroticism score (AOR = 2.72; 95% CI: 1.19–6.24) were significantly associated with the diagnosis of PTSD among the participants.
Conclusion: Post-traumatic stress disorder could result from stressful events encountered in the course of managing patients in mental health institutes and departments. Pre-placement personality evaluation of health workers to be assigned to work in psychiatric units and post-incident trauma counselling of those exposed to violence may be beneficial in reducing the occurrence of PTSD in mental hospital health care workers.