Mental Health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?

mental health car

(Abigail Faith, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Bezawit Kassahun, a 22 year old medical student from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She 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.


In January 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease, COVID-19, to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. As we all face this new reality. we not only need to take care of our physical self and take suggested public heath precautions, but also take care of our emotional self, as this can take an emotional toll on you and trigger stress. The stress can be due to heightened awareness, concern, anxiety, fear and a sense of loss or feeling like you don’t have control. A stressful situation doesn’t affect everyone equally, people who may respond more strongly to the stress of crisis include

  • older people and people with chronic diseases-because they are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19
  • children and teens
  • people who are travelling, or are separated from friends and family members at home or abroad.
  • people who are helping with the response to COVID-19, like doctors, other health care providers and first responders.
  • people who have, mental health condition including problems with substance abuse.

Some helpful tips to prevent and deal with stress are the following

1.Seek accurate information from a legitimate source- such as the world health organization(WHO) or reliable national sources. This is key to avoid the panic misinformation causes. In addition, limit the amount of time you spend watching, reading or listening to news about COVID-19 to specific times once or twice a day. Focus on getting information that will help you take practical steps to protect yourself and your loved ones,

2.Take care of your self- This means focus on things you can control. Where possible maintain your daily routine including getting enough sleep. You can also walk, meditate, exercise and do things that you enjoy.

3.Maintain a positive Thinking-Try to focus on things that are positive in your life. Try to focus on stories of people who have recovered from the disease. Also try to find comfort in your spiritual/personal beliefs and practices.

4.Strengthen your social network- Connect with others through social media, video calling, texting or by joining a support group, as this is physical not social distancing.

4.Be Mindful-Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and body sensations to help you understand why you are feeling anxious or stressed. Practice breathing techniques to help you manage the stress. If you are having trouble managing your stress or anxiety, talk to someone you trust, contact your healthcare provider.

The most important thing to remember is that Your fear is shared among millions of people around the world and that we are all in this together. So, let’s all try to be patient with our self and others and keep in mind that coping with stress will make us, people we care about and our community stronger.

About the author

Bezawit Kassahun is 22 years old. She was born and raised at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. After high school, she went to Addis Ababa university, college of health science to study medicine. Currently she is a 4th year medical student and a vice director of SCOPE at EMSA-AA. She is very passionate about global health and the health care system. In the future, She wants to make a positive impact in the health care system of Ethiopia, Africa and the world as a whole.

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

How technology can help us achieve universal healthcare

Manufacturing reimagined: from improved productivity to profitable growth

Venezuela: MEPs demand free presidential elections and an end to repression

Carbon neutrality and funds for EU programmes are EP priorities for EU summit

International community has achieved unprecedented success fighting offshore tax evasion

ECOFIN: Choosing between the re-unification of Eurozone and a stalemate

Why the way of loving closes doors of health?

“One Belt One Road”: Its relevance to the European Companies

Brussels enraged with Swiss referendum result to keep out EU citizens

Vote at 16 in Malta: next stop Europe

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

The entire Australian state of New South Wales is in drought

Climate change and health – can medical students be the solution?

Industrial products: Lifting the last impediments in the EU single market

It’s time to end our ‘separate but unequal’ approach to mental health

State aid: Commission refers Greece to Court for failure to recover incompatible State aid from mining company Larco

Cultural diversity can drive economies. Here are lessons from India and South Asia

EU Budget 2020 deal: Investing more in climate action, youth and research

‘All atrocity crimes are preventable’ and can never be justified – UN chief

Trying to cure bank cancer with analgesics

Sassoli: Migration agreement respects fundamental principles of Parliament’s proposal

The invisible L word: the struggles to achieve SRHR, as HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment for lesbian population

Ceasefire holds in Tripoli, but core problems remain, says UN Libya mission chief

UN underscores the need to celebrate indigenous peoples, not confine them

This is how wellbeing drives social change and why cultural leaders need to talk about it

Impact of high debt levels on least developed countries ‘cannot be overstated’, says UN

YouTube stars get creative at UN, to promote tolerance

Gender minority and health sector: promoting mental health with better medical education

EU Parliament raises burning issues over the FTA with the US

Everybody against Japan over yen’s devaluation

LGBTQI+ and medicine, in the Land of the Pure

JADE Spring Conference 2018 is on its way: Young entrepreneurs gather in Brussels to shape Europe

EU: Huge surplus in the trade of services with the rest of the world

The success story of a Chinese investment in the Greek port of Piraeus

Christmas spending: Who can afford not to cut?

The staggering loss of the Arctic Ocean’s oldest sea ice shown in time-lapse

Blockchain is not a magic bullet for security. Can it be trusted?

Capital Markets Union: Commission reports on progress achieved ahead of European Council

Who really cares about the 26.2 million of EU jobless?

Four major resources for new European young entrepreneurs

Why gin made from peas helps the environment

FROM THE FIELD: Argentina Preserving Pristine Forests

Sustainability, peace, security ‘best guarantee against instability’ Guterres to Security Council

Empowering people living with HIV ‘will end the epidemic’, says AIDS agency chief

Malaysia’s last Sumatran rhino died – here are more species on the verge of extinction

Foreign direct investments the success secrete of Eurozone

Migrant workers sent more money to India than any other country last year

What does artificial intelligence do in medicine?

Cameron postpones speech in Holland

Aid funding for Occupied Palestinian Territories at ‘all-time low’

Bias in AI is a real problem. Here’s what we should do about it

EU is officially in recession

UN honours peacekeepers who ‘paid the ultimate price’, for the sake of others

Climate action ‘both a priority and a driver of the decade’: Guterres

EU’s VAT system further equipped to tackle fraud in e-commerce and to help small businesses grow

Minority governments ‘à la mode’ in Europe but can they last long?

5G will change the world – but who will keep it safe?

How ‘savings circles’ empower women in rural Africa

Opening – February plenary session, 27 new seats

Can cybersecurity offer value for money?

More Stings?

Advertising

Trackbacks

  1. […] Mental Health in times of a pandemic: what can each individual do to lessen the burden?  The European Sting […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s