Health and social care professions and mental ill-health among the workforce: An analysis using administrative data

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Health and Social Care (HSC) workers are at high risk of job-related stress, burnout and mental illhealth. This study examines differences in self-reported mental health and psychotropic medication
uptake across HSC occupational groups.
Northern Ireland (NI) data linkage study of people working in the Health and Care sector, aged
between twenty and sixty-four years, enumerated at the 2011 Northern Ireland Census and living in
private households, and their uptake of prescribed psychotropic medications during 2011-2012 (using
data derived from routine electronically captured information on prescriptions issued within the NHS
and linked at an individual level using a NI-specific Health and Care key identifier). Comparing
HSC workers with all those professionals not involved in HSC occupations, we used multinomial
logistic regression to examine (a) self-reported chronic mental illness and (b) uptake of psychotropic
medication by occupational groups adjusting for age, sex and socio-demographic circumstance.
When compared against other professionals highest risks for mental health problems (associated
with psychotropic prescription uptake) were associated with nursing/midwifery (OR = 1.25:
95%CI = 1.17–1.33; OR = 1.84: 1.58–2.15 for females and males respectively), welfare
(OR = 1.34: 1.21–1.48; OR = 1.71: 1.44–2.03) and formal caregiving roles (OR = 1.42: 1.31–
1.53; OR = 1.70: 1.50–1.91), again for females/males respectively). These higher risk professions
record notable increases in psychotropic medication use.
Working in the Health and Social Care sector, irrespective of gender, may be more stressful than
other jobs. Additionally, self-reported mental ill-health and psychotropic medication treatment both
appear to be associated with social class inequity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Population Data Science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Jul 2021


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