Psychological needs of critical care staff and barriers to accessing support: A qualitative study

Olivia Rae Sutton, Elisabeth Anne Norton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
8 Downloads (Pure)


Worldwide, critical care staff are vulnerable to mental health difficulties. Support is varied and uptake is minimal. Therefore, barriers need to be understood in order to be addressed; doing so may improve staff's mental health, resulting in positive consequences. This qualitative research took place between September 2020–November 2020 at a National Health Service critical care unit in England. Participants were critical care staff (n = 9). Data were collected through semistructured interviews and analyzed using thematic analysis. The Consolidated Criteria for Reporting Qualitative Studies (COREQ) was used to report the findings, with analysis resulting in six themes: support is the team together in the moment, keeping work-related difficulties from the forefront of the mind, it's just part of the job, stigma makes it hard to speak up about psychological difficulties, normalizing psychological support, and desire for psychological support within critical care. Psychologist presence in critical care, as well as further options for support, may help to reduce barriers and improve staff mental health. Further research is needed to evaluate staff outcomes across multiple sites to refine understanding and interventional approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)652-660
Number of pages9
JournalNursing & Health Sciences
Issue number3
Early online date14 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022

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