LONDON, ONT. -- In the early days of the pandemic, the effects on health care workers were visible whether in news stories or viral videos, and even as cases drop in our country, those effects are still being felt.

A new study from the Lawson Health Research Institute in London is aiming to understand those effects and hopefully minimize them.

The team is looking for 500 health care workers from across the country to participate in the study on moral distress and psychological well-being during the pandemic.

Moral distress is a form of psychological distress when a person’s moral values or standards are challenged during an event.

Previous studies have researched moral distress in military personnel and found a link to increased risk of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression.

“Health care workers may face difficult moral-ethical decisions including those around patient care and shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), which could lead to moral distress,” said Dr. Don Richardson of Lawson.

The study will ask health care workers to take part in series of surveys over 18 months to assess moral distress.

Participants will answer questions about moral-ethical dilemmas and symptoms of depression, PTSD, general anxiety and burnout.

The team hopes that by tracking psychological outcomes over time they may be able to identify early warning signs of distress.

Researchers will also be looking at how the pandemic is impacting health care delivery as a whole.

The study is in partnership with the Centre of Excellence on PTSD and Related Mental Health Conditions.

Those wishing to take part can find more information here.