Mental health of Guatemalan health care workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: baseline findings from the HEROES cohort study

Paniagua-Ávila et al.


To assess the baseline prevalence of mental health conditions and associated exposures in a cohort of health care workers (HCWs) in Guatemala.


We analyzed baseline information from 2020 Web-based COVID-19 Health Care Workers Study (HEROES)–Guatemala. Outcomes included mental distress and depressive symptoms. Exposures included COVID-19 experiences, sociodemographic characteristics, and job characteristics. We used crude and adjusted Poisson regression models in our analyses.


Of the 1 801 HCWs who accepted to participate, 1 522 (84.5%) completed the questionnaire; 1 014 (66.8%) were women. Among the participants, 59.1% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 56.6, 61.5) screened positive for mental distress and 23% (95% CI = 20.9, 25.2) for moderate to severe depressive symptoms. COVID-19 experiences, sociodemographic characteristics, and job characteristics were associated with the study outcomes. Participants who were worried about COVID-19 infection were at higher risk of mental distress (relative risk [RR] = 1.47; 95% CI = 1.30, 1.66) and depressive symptoms (RR = 1.51; 95% CI = 1.17, 1.96). Similarly, the youngest participants were at elevated risk of mental distress (RR = 1.80; 95% CI = 1.24, 2.63) and depressive symptoms (OR = 4.58; 95% CI = 1.51, 13.87).


Mental health conditions are highly prevalent among Guatemalans.

All articles from this supplement are available free of charge and in full text in English in the American Journal of Public Health and in Spanish in the Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública.

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