Top 5 Takeaways

  1. High Prevalence of Mental Health Conditions: Among 26,069 surveyed STLT public health workers in 2022, notable percentages reported symptoms of depression (27.7%), anxiety (27.9%), PTSD (28.4%), and suicidal ideation (8.1%).
  2. Impact of COVID-19 Response Work: Workers with more weekly work hours and those dedicating more time to COVID-19 activities were more likely to report mental health symptoms, especially PTSD.
  3. Lack of Mental Health Support Perception: A significant majority (75.5%) of respondents did not perceive an increase in mental health support from their employers since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Benefits of Time Off and Increased Resources: Respondents who could take time off or perceived an increase in mental health resources from their employer were less likely to report mental health symptoms.
  5. Organizational Changes Recommended: Public health agencies can support their workers by adjusting work-related factors, like emergency response organization and access to mental health services.

Original Article Author and Citation

Corresponding Author

Ahoua Koné,

Suggested Citation

Koné A, Horter L, Thomas I, et al. Symptoms of Mental Health Conditions and Suicidal Ideation Among State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Public Health Workers — United States, March 14–25, 2022. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:925–930. DOI:


This study investigated the prevalence of mental health conditions and suicidal ideation among STLT public health workers in the United States during March 14–25, 2022. It found significant rates of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicidal ideation among respondents, indicating a continuing need for mental health support within this workforce.


A nonprobability-based, self-administered, anonymous, web-based survey was disseminated to a convenience sample of STLT public health workers. It gathered data on demographic characteristics, work history, stressors, mental health symptoms, and perceived employer support.


The findings underscore the heightened mental health challenges faced by public health workers, especially those heavily involved in COVID-19 response efforts. The lack of perceived support from employers highlights a critical area for improvement.


To better support the mental health of public health workers, it is essential for public health agencies to make organizational adjustments, such as reducing work hours, providing access to mental health resources, and recognizing employees’ efforts.


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