National Survey: Public Health Professionals Pushed to Limit

Facing PTSD Symptoms, Stress, and Burnout, Many Consider Calling It Quits

March 29, 2022

BETHESDA, MD—More than half of America’s public health workers report at least one symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey of nearly 45,000 employees in state and local government public health departments. The study reveals high levels of stress, burnout, and intent to leave among public health employees, many of whom have faced threats and harassment from officials and community members who have opposed their guidance on pandemic mitigation efforts, including masking, social distancing, and vaccination. Read the research brief.

The Public Health Workforce Interests and Needs Survey (PH WINS) was conducted by the de Beaumont Foundation and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) between September 2021 and January 2022. Previously conducted in 2014 and 2017, PH WINS is the only nationally representative survey of state and local government public health employees.

More information about key findings are available on the deBeaumont website.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and Washington, D.C., as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice.

Founded in 1998, the de Beaumont Foundation creates and invests in bold solutions that improve the health of communities across the country. The Foundation advances policy, builds partnerships, and strengthens public health to create communities where people can achieve their best possible health. For more information, visit