Preventing the Pandemic of Mental Illness

depression covid

(Kristina Tripkovic, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Anfal Arshad, currently a 4 th year medical student at Allama Iqbal Medical College Lahore in Pakistan. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The entire World is on a pause right now, which means students cannot go to their educational institutions, many adults cannot go to their jobs, and all outdoor events are on hold with no clear sight as to when the whole situation will become normal. All of this can have drastic effects on the economic and social fronts but also on mental health, which can happen on a massive scale. In order to prevent the mental health pandemic, we need to take some measures and thankfully there are many things we can do.

First of all, we need to acknowledge our feelings; these are unusual times and it’s okay to feel anxious and overwhelmed. It’s not possible to go out of our homes these days but what we can do in our homes is still in our control. We need to let go of things which are not in our control and try to build up a routine which is somewhat familiar and in our hands. The plethora of news articles, some of which are also fake, circulating on social media these days can increase stress and we need to limit our intake, and only see the information from authentic resources like W.H.O.

Some people may feel like they need to study or work extensively all day during these self-isolation times, and end up scrolling through social media all day and feel worse at the end of the day by seeing many people’s post about doing different kinds of stuff. We need to realize that these are not the work/exam related holidays and everyone has different coping mechanisms. It’s ok to study and work; the good way to do that would be to designate a separate space for work related things and do that for some time of the day and take regular breaks in between.

Staying in the same clothes all day & night could feel monotonous after some days, what we can do about that is wake up and change into different clothes every day we get up and completing the self-given tasks for the day, change back into comfortable clothes. This would give us a sense of control and make us feel better.

Picking up our favorite hobbies and TV shows back again would also be beneficial to us. We also need to remember that we are doing social distancing but this does not have to be social isolation, so call your friends up and have a chat, and have online book or movie discussions. And last but not the least, many hospital settings around the world have opened up free telemedicine and psychiatric help centers, which can be accessed 24/7.

This is not the first pandemic ever faced by humanity, nor will it be the last, but fortunately we now live in a time where the focus on mental health is better than ever and with appropriate strategies and asking for help, we can lessen the burden of mental health issues.

About the author

Anfal Arshad is currently a 4 th year medical student at Allama Iqbal Medical College Lahore in Pakistan. He is a part of IFMSA since 2017 and believes Mental Health issues are one of the biggest problems in 21st century and one of the best ways to tackle these issues is through awareness amongst general public. For the past four years, he has been a part of different public health related activities.

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