Mental health and social isolation: how do have an active participation in self-care?


(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Bruna Raupp Santiago, Medical student of the fifth period at Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (UEA). 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.

According to the definition proposed by World Health Organization (WHO) about health, this is understood as a complete physical, mental and social welfare1. When elucidate the topic about mental health, it’s important notice that the meaning is more than a simple absence of mental disorders. Note in this the influence of different factors, like social, environmental and socioeconomic. Besides that, like Marx exposed: “The individual is the social being.”2, so the social isolation, limiting the physical living in the normal routine of people, is able to impact in a deleterious way in individual’s health.

In the present worldwide reality of COVID-19 pandemic is notorious the importance of social isolation like a way to prevent the dissemination of this disease. In this scenario, inferred an increase of symptoms of anxiety, depression, anguish and the projection of occurrence of post-traumatic stress disorder, based on studies performed in previous epidemics3-4. So the influence of pandemic, associated with social isolation and uncertainty perspective created by that, generate prejudice in short and long term. This scenario become both the COVID-19 and the mental health: public health problems.

The health professionals also experience stressors that contribute negatively for the mental health of these, like exposed in a transversal Chinese study witch had focus in depression, anxiety and anguish allow this conclusion: “50.4%, 44.6%, 34.0%, and 71.5% of all participants reported symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and distress, respectively”5. This state of alert extends to the population in general, through of extensive news dissemination about the local, federal and global scenarios of COVID-19 pandemic as the high dissemination of fake news6, what contributed for development of anxiety symptoms7.

Therefore, it’s extreme necessary the care with mental health, in order to minimize as much as possible the negative impacts of social isolation on individual health. So each one can be an active subject in the care of own mental health as well as those with whom they live or even with who keep contact at a distance. In additionally, an important aid tool is internet, because became possible keep contact and interaction with relatives and friends7 who the social isolation limit like security measures. Taking care of mental health with individualised service with psychologists also be an alternative, as well as participate of support groups that hold online meetings, on what it’s possible te interaction among the participants, thus generating a partnership scenery, besides being an important point in favour of development of social interaction7 in times of home isolation. Otherwise, the establishment of a routine contributes for a reduce of anxiety feelings, because when stipulate schedules to do little everyday tasks that can be done in the midst of social isolation, like cook, study, watch movies and series, read books, meditate, do physical exercises…8 Like this it’s possible become the social isolation a way in favor of learning new individual skills and development of other ones and consequently taking care of health in general.


1Organização Pan-Americana da Saúde/Organização Mundial de Saúde. Saúde mental depende de bem-estar físico e social, diz OMS em dia mundial [Internet]. [place unknown]; 2016 [cited 2020 Apr 24]. Available from:

2Marx K. Manuscritos econômico-filosóficos. São Paulo: Boitempo; 2010.

3Chua SE, Cheung V, McAlonan GM, Cheung C, Wong JW, Cheung EP, et al. Stress and Psychological Impact on SARS Patients during the Outbreak. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2004;49(6): 385-390. Available from: [Accessed 24th April 2020].

4 Lee AM, Wong JG, McAlonan GM, Cheung V, Cheung C, Sham PC, et al. Stress and Psychological Distress among SARS Survivors 1 Year after the Outbreak. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry. 2007;52(4): 233-240. Available from: [Accessed 24th April 2020].

5Lai J, Ma S, Wang Y, Cai Z, Hu J, Wei N, et al. Factors Associated With Mental Health Outcomes Among Health Care Workers Exposed to Coronavirus Disease 2019. JAMA Network Open. 2020;3(3): e203976. Available from: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.3976 [Accessed 24th April 2020].

6Pierro B. Epidemia de fake news [Internet]. São Paulo: FAPESP; 2020 [cited 2020 Apr 24]. Available from:

7Ornell F, Schuch JB, Sordi AO, Kessler FHP. “Pandemic fear” and COVID-19: mental health burden and strategies. Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry. 2020;0(0): 000-000. Available from: DOI: 10.1590 / 1516-4446-2020-0008 [Accessed 24th April 2020].

8Caleffi L, Garcia LMC. Isolamento social: criar uma rotina pode preservar a saúde mental e física [Internet]. Porto Alegre; 2020 [cited 2020 Apr 24]. Available from:

About the author

Bruna Raupp Santiago, Medical student of the fifth period at Universidade do Estado do Amazonas (UEA). Affiliated to IFMSA Brazil since 2018, she was local president during 2018/19 term. Currently work as national program coordinator in axis of mental health and member of the crises committee in the area of social media during the crises regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Member of the extension project Colorir UEA – Meses Coloridos, covering thematics of population awareness through of colorful calendar of health, having been coordinator of the action turned to Yellow September and meditation for health area’s academics in September, 2019.

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

Closing the gaps in accelerating women’s rights: the role of medical students

MEPs propose measures to combat mobbing and sexual harassment

Chinese economy to raise speed and help the world grow

A bad marriage can be as unhealthy as smoking and drinking

This company is combining video calls with pop-up clinics to help more people get the care they need

Fostering defence innovation through the European Defence Fund

Are we at the edge of anti-vaccination health crisis?

It’s Trump’s anti-globalization and inward-looking rhetoric that perturbs GOP and US

Fossil fuel support is rising again in a threat to climate change efforts

Plastic Oceans: MEPs back EU ban on polluting throwaway plastics by 2021

Ursula von der Leyen: ‘We must not hold onto yesterday’s economy as we rebuild’

NextGenerationEU: Questions and answers on the Recovery and Resilience Facility

How can you or your organization support the Hour of Pride initiative?

After the Italian ‘no’ and the Brexit, Germans must decide which Europe they want

How learning in a crisis can build more resilient leadership

Croatian Presidency priorities discussed in the European Parliament

How technology and play can power high-quality learning in schools

MEPs want ambitious funding for cross-border projects to connect people

Solitary Britain sides with US aggressing Russia and chooses hard Brexit

This New York store is selling Christmas presents for refugees

LGBTQI+ and medicine, in the Land of the Pure

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “European unity and cooperation is being called on question”, Vice President Joe Biden criticizes from Davos

How regenerative agroforestry could solve the climate crisis

Environment Committee MEPs vote to upgrade EU civil protection capacity

The refugee crisis brings to light EU’s most horrible flaws and nightmares

This is how to future-proof your company, according to McKinsey

Why precision medicine won’t transform healthcare – but governance could

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

Trump’s self-centered politics unravels

COP24: Huge untapped potential in greener construction, says UN environment agency

How LA plans to be 1.6°C cooler by 2050

AI looks set to disrupt the established world order. Here’s how

Coronavirus: Commission issues guidelines on testing

Guatemala: UN anti-corruption body will continue working, as Constitutional Court blocks Government expulsion

5 facts you should know about the world’s refugees

Press coverage of migration crisis in Europe: a call for collaborative action

New systemic approach needed to tackle global challenges

COVID-19 vaccines: MEPs call for more clarity and transparency

Terrorist content online: companies to be given just one hour to remove it

The next 48 hours may change the European Union

Summer 2018 Interim Economic Forecast: Resilient Growth amid increased uncertainty

Ramped-up emergency preparedness, part of ‘changing the DNA’ of the UN’s health agency

Pumping more money into banks but leaving them unregulated doesn’t help

David McAllister underlines the need for rapid progress in EU-UK negotiations

Next time you fly, could you be boarding a train instead of a plane?

4 crazy things that are happening in the Arctic right now

Commission caps charges on card and Internet payments and enforces competition

Germany is the world’s most innovative economy

UN condemns attack on Ebola treatment centre in DR Congo which left doctor dead, two others injured

SCADA Security Conference 2017 in Prague, Czech Republic

EU-Russia relations: the beginning of a warmer winter?

Western Sahara: a ‘peaceful solution’ to conflict is possible, says UN envoy

Costa Coffee products (Copyright: Costa Coffee; Source: Costa Coffee website, Press area)

The start of the “Caffeine rush”: Coca-Cola acquires Costa Coffee days after Nestlé-Starbucks deal

UN spotlights ‘explosive’ obesity rates, hunger in Latin America and Caribbean

Radioactive material ‘a magnet for groups with malicious intent’, warns UN nuclear watchdog chief

End ‘cycle of violence’ in Gaza, UN deputy chief tells forum on Palestine

Why collaboration will be key to creating the workforce of the future

Big oil’s climate pledges will fail without workforce equality

Coronavirus: the Commission mobilises all of its resources to protect lives and livelihoods

Banking on sustainability – what’s next?

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

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

You are commenting using your 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