The COVID-19 pandemic has substantially affected health care professionals. Health care professionals have noted increased distress, psychiatric symptoms, and feelings of burnout during this time. Implementation of brief, easy-to-access psychosocial interventions might help health care professionals process stressful events, thus bolstering mental health. One such approach is the narrative expressive writing program, a 5-session cognitive behavioral writing intervention.
The narrative expressive writing program was instituted in a neurosurgical intensive care unit during the COVID-19 pandemic. The program was delivered online and guided by a licensed mental health professional.
Health care professionals completed measures of anxiety, depression, burnout, resilience, and perceived stress before and after completing the narrative expressive writing program. Fifty-eight health care professionals initiated the program; 31 (53% of initiators) completed it.
Health care professionals who completed the narrative expressive writing program experienced significant reductions in depressive symptoms and perceived stress (P < .05).
Preliminary data show that narrative expressive writing is an easy-to-access intervention that has the potential to decrease stress and depressive symptoms. Additional research on tailoring or augmenting the narrative expressive writing program may facilitate health care professionals’ engagement and address other mental health domains (eg, burnout).