Perspectives of Sierra Leoneans Healthcare Workers ‘ Mental Health During the Ebola Outbreak


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Perspectives of Sierra Leoneans Healthcare Workers’ Mental Health During the Ebola Outbreak is a well-researched Social and Behavioral Sciences Thesis/Dissertation topic, it is to be used as a guide or framework for your Academic Research.


The mental health of healthcare workers during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa was a serious concern for healthcare professionals and the mental health field. One area in West Africa where healthcare workers played a significant role during the Eola outbreak of 2014 and 2015 was Sierra Leone.

This qualitative research study was designed to explore the perceptions of Sierra Leoneans healthcare workers’ mental health, how they coped, and the treatment they received while providing care for Ebola virus patients. This study, with a phenomenological research approach, used purposeful sampling to recruit 10 healthcare workers to participate in semi-structured, open-ended interviews.

The stress theory model and a hermeneutic phenomenology conceptual framework were used as a lens of analysis to understand the views of healthcare workers who worked directly with Ebola virus patients in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The results of the analysis of the collected data produced 9 major themes.

The major themes suggest that healthcare workers experienced mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety, personal thoughts and feelings such as insomnia, and suicidal ideation. Strategies for coping included using the Bible; and the detrimental impact included facing discrimination after the Ebola outbreak.

Most of the healthcare workers blame the government for not providing adequate coping resources, which led to the personal consequence of hopelessness. This study may benefit mental health professionals working in an epidemic. Additionally, this study may contribute to social change by providing a deeper understanding of the mental health system and healthcare workers in Freetown, Sierra Leone.


Healthcare workers (HCWs) in an epidemic experience mental health problems. HCWs with inadequate mental health care experienced mental health difficulties during the 2014 and 2015 Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak (Bell, 2016; World Health Organization [WHO], 2016).

The mental health delivery system in Westernized countries provides effective mental health services to HCWs during an epidemic; however, this is not the case in West African nations (Coltart, Johnson, &Whitty, 2015). West African nations such as Sierra Leone continue to provide an inadequate mental health delivery system for HCWs (Delamou, Beavogui, Konde, van Griensven, & De Brouwer, 2015; Eckes, 2016).

Cheung (2015) indicated that HCWs during the EVD outbreak in West Africa experienced unexplained psychological symptoms. Cheung called for effective mental health care in West Africa. Qualitative studies have indicated that first responders such as HCWs are prone to suffer posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and significant psychological trauma during an epidemic (Paladino et al., 2017).

While studies have assessed mental health symptoms via Quantitative instruments (Betancourt et al., 2016; Khalid, Khalid, &Qabajah, 2016; Li et al., 2015), they have not been able to address the subjective experience of mental health care or symptoms that HCWs experienced during the Ebola virus outbreak, which would provide more meaningful, in-depth, and helpful information on their mental health symptoms during the EVD epidemic.

Objective assessments have indicated that HCWs during the EVD outbreak experienced mental health symptoms and stress. However, objective assessments do not know what kind of symptoms they experienced or if they personally felt that they were suffering because all of the quantitative studies used objective assessments and not subjective ones.

Further, researchers know that the mental health care system in West Africa was inadequate. Researchers do not know if HCWs sought help, or if that help was available and effective. This qualitative research study was conducted to explore HCWs’ perspectives on. their mental health symptoms and lived experiences during the Ebola outbreak and to help address problems of the current mental health system in Sierra Leone. This study would also help to address public policies related to HCWs’ perspectives on their mental health during an epidemic.

The rest of this chapter includes background information on HCWs’ mental health and the mental health care system in Freetown, Sierra Leone; the statement of the problem; the nature of the study; the purpose of the study; and the research question for this study. I also discuss the theoretical framework and conceptual framework that was used in this study. Furthermore, I explain the assumptions, scope of delimitations, and limitations of the study. Finally, I conclude with the significance of the study and a summary of this chapter.


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Social and Behavioral Sciences

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