Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected healthcare professionals’ lives. We investigated the potential mental health risk faced by healthcare professionals working in neonatal units in a multicentre cross-sectional observational study. Methods: We included all healthcare personnel of seven level-3 and six level-2 neonatal units in Tuscany, Italy. We measured the level of physical exposure to COVID-19 risk, self-reported pandemic-related stress, and mental health load outcomes (anxiety, depression, burnout, psychosomatic symptoms, and post-traumatic symptoms) using validated, self-administered, online questionnaires during the second pandemic wave in Italy (October 2020 to March 2021). Results: We analyzed 314 complete answers. Scores above the clinical cutoff were reported by 91% of participants for symptoms of anxiety, 29% for post-traumatic symptoms, 13% for burnout, and 3% for symptoms of depression. Moreover, 50% of the participants reported at least one psychosomatic symptom. Pandemic-related stress was significantly associated with all the measured mental health load outcomes, with an Odds Ratio of 3.31 (95% confidence interval: 1.87, 5.88) for clinically relevant anxiety, 2.46 (1.73, 3.49) for post-traumatic symptoms, 1.80 (1.17, 2.79) for emotional exhaustion, and 2.75 (1.05, 7.19) for depression. Female health care professionals displayed a greater risk of anxiety, and male health care professionals and nurses, of depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Despite the low direct clinical impact of COVID-19 in newborns, neonatal professionals, due to both living in a situation of uncertainty and personal exposure to contacts with parents and other relatives of the newborns, and having to carry out activities once routine and now fraught with uncertainty, displayed clear signs of mental health load outcomes. They must be considered a specific population at risk for psychological consequences during the pandemic.
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