MONTREAL -- Watching patients die, working long hours, and being scared of catching COVID-19 are all things that make hospital staff vulnerable amid the pandemic. 

Montreal researchers are launching an app for smartphones that will let healthcare workers monitor their mental health, both to help get them through the crisis and to help others later on. 

The idea is to collect data to paint a picture of how a pandemic impacts mental health among frontline workers, in order to develop a guide for the future. 

In an open letter published at the end of May, Dr. Nicolas Bergeron, a psychiatrist and researcher at the CHUM, said that five to 10 per cent of healthcare workers could struggle with post-traumatic stress once the pandemic ends. Along with his colleague Steve Geoffrion, a researcher at the Institut universitaire en santé mentale de Montréal, Bergeron is launching an app to self-monitor stress as part of a research project. 

The pair hopes to recruit 300 participants among employees from the CHUM as well as the Capitale-National and Est-l’Île-de-Montréal integrated health and social service centres. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 25, 2020.